2008 Volume 33 Issue 1 Pages 1-12
Green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, its GFP variants (Aequorea GFPs), and more recently the novel GFP-like proteins from Anthozoa have greatly advanced our technologies for fluorescently labeling cells, organelles, and proteins. It has been shown, however, that some GFP-like proteins have a tendency to oligomerize and aggregate. Transfection of GFP-like proteins into cultured mammalian cells results in bright punctate structures, which are thought to be cytosolic protein aggregates. In this study, we demonstrate that these structures are not cytosolic aggregates but lysosomes that have accumulated the GFP-like proteins. Our biochemical and immunocytochemical experiments have revealed that certain GFP-like proteins expressed in the cytosol enter lysosomes possibly by an autophagy-related mechanism, but retain their fluorescence because of resistance not only to acidity but also to lysosomal proteases.