Russian scientists have created a new phototoxic protein SuperNova2

Phototoxic proteins are an important research tool, they are used as genetically

coded photosensitizers to generatereactive oxygen species under the influence of light radiation. Unlike conventional chemical photosensitizers, phototoxic proteins are genetically encoded and expressed by the cell itself, which allows them to be easily controlled and directed to any selected cell area. Thanks to reactive oxygen species produced by light, phototoxic proteins can create highly localized oxidative stress, for example, destroy a selected population of cells or turn off target proteins - a function that is especially in demand when modeling cellular processes.

Single mutation S10R with serine substitution in position10 on arginine (highlighted in blue on the protein structure on the left), despite its removal from the chromophore (highlighted in raspberry), led to an improvement in the properties of the phototoxic fluorescent proteins KillerRed and SuperNova. Photo: Skoltech

The first phototoxic protein, KillerRed, has been describeda group of Russian researchers led by Konstantin Lukyanov, professor at the Skoltech Center for Life Sciences (CLS), in 2006. KillerRed has been further refined by Japanese scientists and renamed SuperNova. In a recent study, Professor Lukyanov's team developed SuperNova2, an improved version of SuperNova that demonstrates a high rate and completeness of maturation and is monomeric, making the new protein easy to use and suitable for a wide range of molecular biology tasks.

“We hope that the genetically encoded SuperNova2 photosensitizer will find application in a wide range of experimental models,” emphasizes Professor Lukyanov.

Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech)- a private research university with a higher education. Skoltech, founded in 2011 in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), trains world leaders in innovation, advances scientific knowledge and develops new technologies aimed at solving the most important problems facing Russia and the world. Skoltech conducts its work by integrating the best experience of leading Russian and foreign educational and research universities. The university also specializes in entrepreneurship and innovative education.

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