Gas station without pumps

2013 June 16

UnaG from unagi

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:35
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I was amused by the name for the “First fluorescent protein identified in a vertebrate”.  The researchers named it UnaG, after the Japanese freshwater eel “unagi” from which it was identified. The brief announcement in Nature News and Comment, First fluorescent protein identified in a vertebrate, claims that

“It’s totally different” from other fluorescent proteins. “There’s not anything you can point to that’s the same.” For example, instead of producing light with a ‘chromophore’ that is part of the protein sequence, as the classical Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) does, UnaG fluoresces when it binds a naturally occurring small molecule called bilirubin, a breakdown product of haemoglobin.

The article has a cool picture of an eel glowing green when illuminated with a blue light.  They say that American and European eels also have UnaG in their muscles.  I wonder why no one has noticed this fluorescence before.

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