Researchers genetically engineered E. coli to produce colorful and fluorescent proteins originally from Cnidaria.
E. coli in an agar plate express different chromoproteins and fluoroproteins originally found in Cnidaria. Each protein is coded for by its own gene. The genes are functional across all organisms tested so far when transplanted into their genomes.
Nick Coleman’s lab is using fluorescent proteins as reporters of gene function in bacteria and in the construction of biosensors. The team is in the process of developing variants of these proteins such as “Free Use GFP” (fuGFP), which is an open-source, green fluorescent protein that folds well even when attached to poorly folded polypeptides.
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