iLOV- a novel fluorescent reporter of virus infection

In a collaboration with John Christie University of Glasgow http://www.gla.ac.uk:443/ibls/staff/staff.php?who=%7CPPSGd , we have been exploring the use of plant phototropins as novel fluorescent reporters. Phototropin 2 (Phot2) of Arabidopsis contains a light/oxygen/voltage /voltage (LOV) domain that is sufficient to generate fluorescence in planta. Using gene shuffling methods (collaboration with Sean Chapman and Ali Roberts, Scottish Crop research Institute http://www.scri.ac.uk/research/pp/cbi) we produced a greatly improved LOV variant (iLOV) that showed enhanced fluorescence and improved photostability. The advantages of iLOV over GFP as a reporter of virus infection lie in its small size (11kDa), conferring advantages over GFP where genome size is a constraint for foreign protein expression by the virus (for details see Christie et al. 2008).