project documents the localisation of proteins
to subcellular compartments of the eukaryotic cell
applying fluorescence microscopy
. Experimental data are complemented with bioinformatic
analyses and published online in a database
. A search function allows the finding of proteins containing features or motifs of particular interest. The project is a collaboration of the research groups of Rainer Pepperkok
at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory
(EMBL) and Stefan Wiemann
at the German Cancer Research Centre
What kinds of experiments are made?
of novel identified Open Reading Frames
(ORF) are tagged with Green Fluorescent Protein
(GFP) and expressed in eukaryotic cells. Subsequently, the subcellular localisation of the fusion proteins
is recorded by fluorescence microscopy.
1. Large-scale cloning
Any large-scale manipulation of ORFs requires cloning
technologies which are free of restriction enzymes
. In this respect those that utilise recombination
cloning (Gateway of Invitrogen or Creator of BD Biosciences) have proved to be the most suitable. This cloning technology is based on recombination mechanisms used by phages
to integrate their DNA
into the host genome
. It allows the ORFs to be rapidly and conveniently shuttled between functionally useful vectors
without the need for conventional restriction cloning. In the cDNA-GFP project the ORFs are transferred into CFP/YFP expression
vectors. For the localisation analysis both N- and C-terminal fusions are generated. This maximises the possibility of correctly ascertaining the localisation, since the presence of GFP may mask targeting signals
that may be present at one end of the native protein.
2. Transfection of eukaryotic cells, Expression
The fusion vectors are transfected in Vero cells (monkey kidney fibroblasts
). Particularly interesting ORFs are also screened for localisation in PC12 cells and hippocampal neurons
3. Protein localisation
At different time points, the subcellular localisation of the fusion proteins is recorded via fluorescence microscopy. At the end of the live cell imaging, the cells can still be fixed and colocalisation experiments made.
4. Bioinformatic Analysis
As the sequence of the cDNAs is known, bioinformatics can make predictions regarding the localisation and function of the encoded protein. The bioinformatics analysis is facilitated by the bioinformatic search engine Harvester
5. Assignment of subcellular localization category
Results from the N- and C-terminal fusions are assessed and in turn these data are compared to the bioinformatic predictions. A final subcellular localisation (from approximately 20 categories) is then assigned for each ORF. Similar localisations with both N- and C-terminal constructs provide a higher degree of reliability of the result. For those ORFs where the two fusions do not give a similar localisation pattern, a series of other criteria, including bioinformatic predictions, are considered. Occasionally a clear cut localization cannot be assigned.
Which data is published?
Every data sheet contains the fluorescence images of both N- and C-terminal fusions, the assigned localization, other localizations, comments and the Swissprot
ID. For every protein entry, a link is provided to the corresponding Harvester
How do I use the GFP-cDNA database?
Images of all localised proteins and their bioinformatic analysis can be viewed via the ‘Results Table’ or ‘Results Images’ buttons. In addition, use the search window on the entry site to find proteins containing features or motifs of particular interest to you that have been localised in this project.