Dynamic and Quantitative Ca2+ Measurements Using Improved Cameleons
Cameleons are genetically-encoded fluorescent indicators for Ca2+ based on green fluorescent protein variants and calmodulin (CaM). Because camelcons can be targeted genetically and imaged by one- or two-photon excitation microscopy, they offer great promise for monitoring Ca2+ in whole organisms, tissues, organelles, and submicroscopic environments in which measurements were previously impossible. However, the original cameleons suffered from significant pH interference, and their Ca2+-buffering and cross-reactivity with endogenous CaM signaling pathways was uncharacterized. We have now greatly reduced the pH-sensitivity of the cameleons by introducing mutations V68L and Q69K into the acceptor yellow green fluorescent protein. The resulting new cameleons permit Ca2+ measurements despite significant cytosolic acidification. When Ca2+ is elevated, the CaM and CaM-binding peptide fused together in a cameleon predominantly interact with each other rather than with free CaM and CaM-dependent enzymes. Therefore, if cameleons are overexpressed, the primary effect is likely to be the unavoidable increase in Ca2+ buffering rather than specific perturbation of CaM-dependent signaling.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
- Pub Date:
- March 1999