Illuminating Cells

May 3, 2010 | Baruch College, Newsmakers

Green fluorescent proteins, discovered in the early 1960s by two scientists who first isolated a calcium-dependent bioluminescent protein from jellyfish, were a significant biomedical discovery because the proteins act as reflectors illuminating the internal workings of living cells, says David Gruber, assistant professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Baruch College. “Normally, when you look at a living cell you can’t see the specific proteins, but by using fluorescent proteins suddenly all of this became illuminated,” he explained in an interview about his research on biofluorescence and bioluminescence. “You could put this fluorescent protein in front of any protein and watch it interact to see what happens in diseases, when things start going wrong.”
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