All will be illuminated: Real-time multicolor imaging with luminescent protein-based Nano-lanterns

While fluorescence imaging (in which external light is used to excite a specimen that then emits light in response) is essential in cell biology, it has a number of significant drawbacks, including autofluorescence, phototoxicity and photobleaching, resulting from that excitation light. In addition, fluorescence imaging has the unfortunate side effect of triggering cellular activation when combined with optogenetics – an otherwise extremely valuable tool. On the other hand, luminescence (in this case, a type of chemiluminescence called bioluminescence) imaging doesn't require light activation, and so eschews these issues – but currently suffers from low brightness and poor color variants.

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