The influence of green fluorescent protein incorporation on bacterial physiology: A note of caution

D. G. Allison, M. A. Sattenstall

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Aims: To investigate the effect of green flourescent protein (GFP) incorporation on bacterial physiology. Methods and Results: Comparisons were made between four different isogenic pairings of non-GFP-containing parents and their GFP-containing transformants with respect to growth rate and antimicrobial susceptibility. For the latter, sensitivities to 12 different antibiotics were measured initially by disc-diffusion assay, and then subsequently by generation of dose-dependent survival curves for 1 h exposure to different concentrations of tetracycline, ciprofloxacin and cetrimide USP. Whilst no significant difference in growth rate was observed, GFP-containing strains were uniformly and significantly more sensitive to all antimicrobial agents tested, excluding the β-lactams, than their respective non-GFP-containing counterparts. Conclusions: GFP incorporation has a significant effect on bacterial physiology and can modulate antimicrobial susceptibility. Significance and Impact of the Study: Transformation with GFP can affect the physiology of bacterial cells. This may therefore affect the quality and accuracy of data generated depending on the application for which GFP is used. © 2007 The Authors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)318-324
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


    • Antimicrobial susceptibility
    • Bacterial physiology
    • Cetrimide
    • Ciprofloxacin
    • Fitness cost
    • GFP
    • Tetracycline


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