TeAPCα is a light-harvesting phycobiliprotein from cyanobacteria (Trichodesmium erythraeum) that was used as the precursor for the far-red smURFP fluorescent proteins. Native APC is a highly fluorescent hexamer (three α + β dimers) that requires an auxiliary protein known as a lyase to incorporate phycocyanobilin (PCB).
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We chose TeAPCα (15 kD) [as a precursor for smURFP] because it lacked 29 amino acids common to other APCαs. Expression of TeAPCα with heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and phycocyanobilin–ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PcyA) for PCB production showed no fluorescence.