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Function for green fluorescent protein

Biologists’ favorite glowing marker may play a role in cellular business

Green fluorescent protein, the darling of cell biologists and biomedical researchers, may do more than give off light. When the protein fluoresces — allowing researchers to see where cells and proteins boldly glow in petri dishes and living organisms — it also gives up electrons, a team reports online April 26 in Nature Chemical Biology. The research suggests a possible new function of the protein; its normal role has remained a puzzle despite its widespread use in laboratories.

“This is a totally unexpected twist,” comments Mikhail Matz of the University of Texas at Austin. “This is an extremely important piece of the most basic information that was missing for so long.”

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