We can now add glowing proteins to a jellyfish’s extraordinary repertoire.
Scientists were snorkeling the reefs surrounding the coral cay on the southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef when they noticed something strange with a jellyfish. Curiosity struck, so they captured the jellyfish to examine it more closely.
What they found was that the jellyfish’s translucent body had lines of blue running through it. Researchers examined it more closely and saw five fluorescent proteins in its body. The proteins were similar to the green fluorescent protein that scientists use to track proteins in cells.
Upon further review, scientists realized that the jellyfish was producing five fluorescent proteins. Two of them glow green, two more are blue, and one alternates between yellow and clear when exposed to light. The proteins had narrow excitation and emission peaks, which allowed them to emit light at specific wavelengths. This gave scientists the opportunity to study the expression of multiple genes at once because of the different colors.
What makes the study even more exciting is the fact that the protein remains bright even when exposed to light. This provides researchers an extended amount of time to study the image cells. Scientists hope to manipulate the proteins to make them smaller and brighter so that they can be moved around within a cell.