This month?s __Nature Biotechnology__ linkurl:includes an article; from Sergey Lukyanov that elevates fluorescent proteins from cool to killer. Lukyanov, of the Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, and colleagues report the isolation of a GFP variant called KillerRed that acts as a photosensitizer. Photosensitizers produce reactive oxygen species upon stimulation with light; KillerRed produces enough ROS to kill 96% of __E. coli__, and 40% to 60% of 293T human kidney cells, after 10 minutes. Localizing the protein to mitochondria increased cytotoxic efficiency to nearly 100% after 45 minutes. Lukyanov?s team also demonstrated the protein?s utility in CALI ? chromophore-assisted light inactivation. Irradiation of a KillerRed-beta-galactosidase fusion protein killed the enzyme?s activity in bacteria, both in vitro and in vivo. The CALI effect also worked in eukaryotic cells. Here?s the kicker: Lukyanov et al. are not the first to invent a photosensitizer, nor are they the first...

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