RNA mimics of green fluorescent protein Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Benzyl Compounds
  • Fluorescence
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Imidazolines


  • Green fluorescent protein (GFP) and its derivatives have transformed the use and analysis of proteins for diverse applications. Like proteins, RNA has complex roles in cellular function and is increasingly used for various applications, but a comparable approach for fluorescently tagging RNA is lacking. Here, we describe the generation of RNA aptamers that bind fluorophores resembling the fluorophore in GFP. These RNA-fluorophore complexes create a palette that spans the visible spectrum. An RNA-fluorophore complex, termed Spinach, resembles enhanced GFP and emits a green fluorescence comparable in brightness with fluorescent proteins. Spinach is markedly resistant to photobleaching, and Spinach fusion RNAs can be imaged in living cells. These RNA mimics of GFP provide an approach for genetic encoding of fluorescent RNAs.

publication date

  • July 29, 2011



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC3314379

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1207339

PubMed ID

  • 21798953

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 642

end page

  • 6


  • 333


  • 6042