Bacterial phytochromes, cyanobacteriochromes and allophycocyanins as a source of near-infrared fluorescent probes

Olena S. Oliinyk, Konstantin G. Chernov, Vladislav Verkhusha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Scopus citations


Bacterial photoreceptors absorb light energy and transform it into intracellular signals that regulate metabolism. Bacterial phytochrome photoreceptors (BphPs), some cyanobacteriochromes (CBCRs) and allophycocyanins (APCs) possess the near-infrared (NIR) absorbance spectra that make them promising molecular templates to design NIR fluorescent proteins (FPs) and biosensors for studies in mammalian cells and whole animals. Here, we review structures, photochemical properties and molecular functions of several families of bacterial photoreceptors. We next analyze molecular evolution approaches to develop NIR FPs and biosensors. We then discuss phenotypes of current BphP-based NIR FPs and compare them with FPs derived from CBCRs and APCs. Lastly, we overview imaging applications of NIR FPs in live cells and in vivo. Our review provides guidelines for selection of existing NIR FPs, as well as engineering approaches to develop NIR FPs from the novel natural templates such as CBCRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1691
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 3 2017



  • Allophycocyanin
  • Bacterial photoreceptor
  • Cyanobacteriochrome
  • Near-infrared fluorescent protein
  • Phytochrome
  • Tetrapyrrole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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