We introduced enhanced UnaG (eUnaG), a ligand-activatable fluorescent protein, for conventional and super-resolution imaging of subcellular structures in the mammalian cells. eUnaG is a V2L mutant of UnaG with twice brighter bulk fluorescence. We previously discovered the reversible fluorescence switching behavior of UnaG and demonstrated the high photon outputs and high localization numbers in single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM). In this study, we showed that the fluorescence of eUnaG can be switched off under blue-light illumination, while a high concentration of fluorogenic ligands in the buffer can efficiently restore the fluorescence, as in UnaG. We demonstrated the capacity of eUnaG as an efficient protein label in mammalian cells, as well as for SMLM by utilizing its photoswitchable nature. While cytosolic UnaG proteins showed aggregated patches and fluorescence reduction at high expression levels, eUnaG-labeled protein targets successfully formed their proper structures in mammalian cells without notable distortion from the endogenous structure in the majority of transiently expressing cells. In particular, eUnaG preserved the vimentin filament structures much better than the UnaG. eUnaG provided similarly high single-molecule photon count distribution to UnaG, thus also similarly high resolution in the super-resolution images of various subcellular structures. The sampling coverage analysis of vimentin filaments in SMLM images showed the improvement of labeling efficiency of eUnaG. eUnaG is a high-performance fluorescent protein for fluorescence and single-molecule localization imaging in green emission with minimal labeling artifact.
- fluorescent protein
- single-molecule localization microscopy
- super-resolution (SR) imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Molecular Biology