Excitation [3 mb] P1030138.jpg
 

Excitation (Green Fluorescent Protein)
2016
Stained glass
23" h x 20" w 

 

Excitation - a higher energy level, often capable of generating light. 

Humans show excitation. So do neurons. And electrons. And stars. 
"Let there be light - and there was light." - The first excitation?
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GFP - green fluorescent protein, was purified from a bioluminescent jellyfish - Aequroea victoria, and gives off green light when exposed to blue light.

Organisms genetically engineered to produce GFP in every cell will fluoresce green when exposed to blue light. Studies using such GFP-organisms have shed light on many important biological questions. 

This work shows Aequorea victoria (artist’s version) along with a molecular ribbon model of GFP, in a background of dark blue reminiscent of the ocean.


Scientific Background:

GFP / green fluorescent protein [1GFL.pdb] with Aequorea victoria.

Aequorea victoria, a bioluminescent jellyfish, produces a protein, GFP - green fluorescent protein, whose discovery and study led to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008 for Shimomura, Chalfie, and Tsien. GFP can be genetically engineered into other proteins without loss of function for those proteins. Engineered into the protein, ubiquitin, which is ubiquitous - produced in all cells, gives this fluorescent property to all cells of an animal. One example (of many) how this can be used is when bone marrow from GFP mice is transplanted into non-GFP mice; one can trace the movement and fate of the transplanted bone marrow cells which are distinguishable because of their green fluorescence. These experiments, done by a colleague, were the inspiration for this piece. GFP-labeled tumor cells have been used experimentally to study the response of the cancer cells to various treatments, and GFP labeled proteins have allowed the intracellular location and movement of these proteins within the single cell.