Versatile Interacting Peptide tags for high resolution microscopy

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Researchers at OHSU have developed a novel system for tracking multiple cellular proteins using genetically encoded peptide tags, which are smaller than antibodies and demonstrate greater labeling efficiency, expanding the capabilities of existing imaging and microscopy techniques.

Technology Overview

Protein labeling methods often rely on large, bulky molecules (such as, fluorescent proteins, labeled antibodies and protein tags), which can interfere with the target protein’s activity and subcellular localization, and are limited in their color options for techniques such as electron microscopy. Short peptide tags address both of these limitations; however, the few that have been developed to date have limited spectral diversity and are difficult to use.

Versatile Interacting Peptide (VIP) tags are:

  • Small, target-specific, and easy-to-use.
  • Compatible with diverse chemical reporters (i.e., fluorophores, quantum dots, gold particles, etc.).
  • Capable of detecting proteins in cell lysates and on the surface of living cells to monitor endocytosis or recycling of cell-surface receptors.
  • A sensitive alternative to immunolabeling, particularly when high specificity antibodies are lacking.
  • Useful for multicolor labeling in mixed cell populations.  
  • Capable of rapid labeling in both live and fixed cells.  
  • Able to track proteins from one imaging platform to another (fluorescence microscopy to EM).
  • Useful for imaging in confocal microscopy, correlative light and EM (CLEM), transmission EM, scanning EM, cryoEM, flow cytometry, and SDS-PAGE/membrane transfer/.


ZDoh JK, White JD, Zane HK, Chang YH, Lopez CS, Enns CA, Beatty KE. VIPER is a genetically encoded peptide tag for fluorescence and electron microscopy. PNAS, 115 (51) 12961-12966, 2018. Link

Zane HK, Doh JK, Enns CA, Beatty KE. Versatile Interacting Peptide (VIP)Tags for Labeling Proteins with Bright Chemical Reporters. Chembiochem, Jan 4 2017. Link

Licensing Opportunity

This technology is available for exclusive licensing.



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For Information, Contact:
Anne Carlson
Assoc Dir, Tech Dev & Licensing
Oregon Health & Science University
Kimberly Beatty
Hannah Zane
Julia Doh
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