Thermostable fluorescent proteins (TSFPs), methods for generating these and other stability-enhanced proteins, polynucleotides encoding such proteins, and assays and method for using the TSFPs and TSFP-encoding nucleic acid molecules are provided. The TSFPs of the invention show extremely enhanced levels of stability and thermotolerance. In one case, for example, a TSFP of the invention is so stable it can be heated to 99.degree. C. for short periods of time without denaturing, and retains 85% of its fluorescence when heated to 80.degree. C. for several minutes. The invention also provides a method for generating stability-enhanced variants of a protein, including but not limited to fluorescent proteins.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06 NA 25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.