Genetically encoded orientation probes for F-actin for fluorescence polarization microscopy. Academic Article uri icon


  • Fluorescence polarization microscopy, which can visualize both position and orientation of fluorescent molecules, is useful for analyzing architectural dynamics of proteins in vivo, especially that of cytoskeletal proteins such as actin. Fluorescent phalloidin conjugates and SiR-actin can be used as F-actin orientation probes for fluorescence polarization microscopy, but a lack of appropriate methods for their introduction to living specimens especially to tissues, embryos, and whole animals hampers their applications to image the orientation of F-actin. To solve this problem, we have developed genetically encoded F-actin orientation probes for fluorescence polarization microscopy. We rigidly connected circular permutated green fluorescent protein (GFP) to the N-terminal ?-helix of actin-binding protein Lifeact or utrophin calponin homology domain (UtrCH), and normal mEGFP to the C-terminal ?-helix of UtrCH. After evaluation of ensemble and single particle fluorescence polarization with the instantaneous FluoPolScope, one of the constructs turned out to be suitable for practical usage in live cell imaging. Our new, genetically encoded F-actin orientation probe, which has a similar property of an F-actin probe to conventional GFP-UtrCH, is expected to report the 3D architecture of the actin cytoskeleton with fluorescence polarization microscopy, paving the way for both the single molecular orientation imaging in cultured cells and the sub-optical resolution architectural analysis of F-actin networks analysis of F-actin in various living systems.

publication date

  • July 2, 2019