Bioluminescence resonance energy transfer from aequorin to a fluorophore: An artificial jellyfish for applications in multianalyte detection

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In nature, the green light emission observed in the jellyfish Aequorea victoria is a result of a non-radiative energy transfer from the excited-state aequorin to the green fluorescent protein. In this work, we have modified the photoprotein aequorin by attaching selected fluorophores at a unique site on the protein. This will allow for in vitro transfer of bioluminescent energy from aequorin to the fluorophore thus creating an "artificial jellyfish". The fluorophores are selected such that the excitation spectrum of the fluorophore overlaps with the emission spectrum of aequorin. By modifying aequorin with different fluorophores, bioluminescent labels with different emission maxima are produced, which will allow for the simultaneous detection of multiple analytes. By examining the X-ray crystal structure of the protein, four different sites for introduction of the unique cysteine residue were evaluated. Two fluorophores with differing emission maxima were attached individually to the mutants through the sulfhydryl group of the cysteine molecule. Two of the fluorophore-labeled mutants showed a peak corresponding to fluorophore emission thus indicating resonance energy transfer from aequorin to the fluorophore.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1394
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005



  • Aequorin
  • Bioluminescence energy transfer
  • Site-directed mutagenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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