Work performed in Tsien’s UC San Diego laboratory determined the mechanism by which GFP exhibits its green color and led to the development of a series of GFP variants that emit additional colors. This set of GFP proteins expanded the utility of GFP to study multiple proteins in the same cell. Additionally, the modified GFPs developed by Tsien provided the means to analyze protein-protein interactions and changes in protein structure, such as binding of ligands by receptors. Senomyx has licensed the use of patented GFP technology in the flavor and fragrance field.
Of Tsien’s honor, Senomyx president and CEO Kent Snyder said, “Senomyx is privileged to have benefitted from Tsien’s scientific expertise and advice since the establishment of the company. We appreciate his scientific guidance and applaud his being named a new Nobel Laureate.”