Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to:

Osamu ShimomuraMartin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien “for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP”

For a video of a lecture given by Roger Y. Tsien in 2001, go here

For information about GFP and pictures of it “in action”, please read on.

The green fluorescent protein was originally isolated from a jellyfish, namely Aequorea victoria or crystal jelly, and will fluoresce green when exposed to blue light. It is used in fluorescent microscopy, and unlike previous fluorescent molecules used it is not toxic to living cells. This enables scientists to observe it in living cells over a longer period of time. Specific proteins or structures are tagged with GFP, and one can then observe the expression of those elements in different parts of the cells. This has for example made it possible to observe the folding and expression of proteins in cells. Another cool thing about GFP is that it is a protein, so you can attach the gene coding for it to other genes in the DNA. The cells that express the gene you are investigating will also then produce GFP, and you will be able to easily spot them using fluorescent microscopy. So this was a truly landmark discovery for medical and biotechnological research. 

So, as promised, here are some amazing pictures of GFP in action:

Here GFP is attached to fibroblast growth factor receptor-3.

Meet Alba, the amazing green fluorescent rabbit. She was genetically modified to express GFP, and will glow green when she is exposed to blue light.

 Here GFP is expressed in mitochondria, and an orange-fluorescent protein was used to produce a clearer image. 

GFP-tagged pyramidal neuron….


October 8, 2008 - Posted by | Chemistry, General Science | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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