Comparative analysis of bacteriophytochrome agp2 and its engineered photoactivatable nir fluorescent proteins pairfp1 and pairfp2

Faez Iqbal Khan, Fakhrul Hassan, Razique Anwer, Feng Juan, Dakun Lai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Two photoactivatable near infrared fluorescent proteins (NIR FPs) named “PAiRFP1” and “PAiRFP2” are formed by directed molecular evolution from Agp2, a bathy bacteriophytochrome of Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58. There are 15 and 24 amino acid substitutions in the structure of PAiRFP1 and PAiRFP2, respectively. A comprehensive molecular exploration of these bacteriophytochrome photoreceptors (BphPs) are required to understand the structure dynamics. In this study, the NIR fluorescence emission spectra for PAiRFP1 were recorded upon repeated excitation and the fluorescence intensity of PAiRFP1 tends to increase as the irradiation time was prolonged. We also predicted that mutations Q168L, V244F, and A480V in Agp2 will enhance the molecular stability and flexibility. During molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, the average root mean square deviations of Agp2, PAiRFP1, and PAiRFP2 were found to be 0.40, 0.49, and 0.48 nm, respectively. The structure of PAiRFP1 and PAiRFP2 were more deviated than Agp2 from its native conformation and the hydrophobic regions that were buried in PAiRFP1 and PAiRFP2 core exposed to solvent molecules. The eigenvalues and the trace of covariance matrix were found to be high for PAiRFP1 (597.90 nm2) and PAiRFP2 (726.74 nm2) when compared with Agp2 (535.79 nm2). It was also found that PAiRFP1 has more sharp Gibbs free energy global minima than Agp2 and PAiRFP2. This comparative analysis will help to gain deeper understanding on the structural changes during the evolution of photoactivatable NIR FPs. Further work can be carried out by combining PCR-based directed mutagenesis and spectroscopic methods to provide strategies for the rational designing of these PAiRFPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1286
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Agp2
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • PAiRFP1
  • PAiRFP2
  • Protein folding and stability


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