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Wu, Xian-Jun; Chang, Kun; Luo, Juan; Zhou, Ming; Scheer, Hugo; Zhao, Kai-Hong (8. March 2013): Modular generation of fluorescent phycobiliproteins. In: Photochemical & Photochemical Sciences, Vol. 12, No. 6: pp. 1036-1040


Phycobiliproteins are brightly-fluorescent light-harvesting pigments for photosynthesis in cyanobacteria and red algae. They are also of interest as fluorescent biomarkers, but their heterologous generation in vivo has previously required multiple transformations. We report here a modular approach that requires only two DNA segments. The first codes for the apo-protein. The second codes for fusions capable of chromophore biosynthesis and its covalent attachment to the apo-protein; it contains the genes of heme oxygenase, a bilin reductase, and a chromophore lyase. Phycobiliproteins containing phycoerythrobilin (lambda(fluor) similar to 560 nm), phycourobilin (lambda(fluor) similar to 500 nm), phycocyanobilin (lambda(fluor) similar to 630 nm) or phycoviolobilin (lambda(fluor) similar to 580 nm) were obtained in high yield in E. coli. This approach facilitates chromophorylation studies of phycobiliproteins, as well as their use for fluorescence labeling based on their high fluorescence.