Fluorescent Peptides

Fluorescent peptides are peptides labelled with a reporter fluorescent dye, and are valuable probes to visualise intracellular processes and molecular interactions.  Fluorescent peptides bound to receptors or proteins enable the detection of components of complex biomolecular assemblies with high sensitivity and selectivity.  Fluorescent peptides have been used in in vivo or in vitro studies for visualizing cellular processes and molecular interactions.  For in vivo imaging, three-dimensional fluorescent images of the internal structures can be produced, including for small animals. This technique requires the use of near infrared red dyes as tissues do not absorb or scatter photons as strongly when lower wavelength light is used.

Fluorophores absorb light in the ultraviolet or visible range and re-emit part of the energy as fluorescence.   The fluorescent dye may be found attached to the amino or carboxy terminus of the peptide, or both.  Carboxy terminal labelling is more difficult than amino terminal labelling so is less common.  It is important that the label does not impair the normal biological function of the peptide.  Dyes in common use include FAM, FITC, TAMRA, sulforhodamine B, tetramethylrhodamine, coumarin, Alexa Fluors, Cy dyes, and Atto dyes.  Fluorophores should exhibit strong fluorescence and have high stability against photo-bleaching under the light intensities applied.  

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