Wednesday, October 08, 2008

GFP wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry

This year's Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP". This is a protein every biochemist is familiar with. The award was shared between Osamu Shimomura who first isolated GFP, Martin Chalfie who pioneered its use as a visible genetic tag and Roger Y. Tsien who built our understanding of how it fluoresces and expanded the colour options. The image shown is taken from the Tsien lab website and shows an agar plate with bacteria expressing different fluorescent proteins. From the Nobel foundation press release:
This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry rewards the initial discovery of GFP and a series of important developments which have led to its use as a tagging tool in bioscience. By using DNA technology, researchers can now connect GFP to other interesting, but otherwise invisible, proteins. This glowing marker allows them to watch the movements, positions and interactions of the tagged proteins.
The next time you use it to track viral infection, protein expression or cell motility you have these guys to thank.