The tendency for tetramerization is the main disadvantage in the green fluorescent protein homologues from Anthozoa species. We report a universal method called hetero-oligomeric tagging, which diminishes troublesome consequences of tetramerization of Anthozoa-derived fluorescent proteins (FP) in intracellular protein labelling. This approach is based on the co-expression of the FP-tagged protein of interest together with an excess of free non-fluorescent FP mutant. The resulting FP heterotetramers contain only a single target polypeptide and, therefore, can be considered pseudo-monomeric. Feasibility of the method has been demonstrated with a red FP fused with cytoplasmic β-actin or tubulin-binding protein Tau34. In addition, heterotetramers appeared to be a unique model for biophysical characterization of Anthozoa FPs in pseudo-monomeric state.

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