Fluorescent proteins have revolutionized cell biology and, therefore, our understanding of the complex molecular and cellular mechanisms that wire the brain together and enable its plasticity throughout life. The ability to visualize cell biological processes has inspired the development of alternative protein labeling strategies by both chemists and biologists. Among those approaches are the introduction of small bioorthogonal chemical reporters and new fluorescent probes by either genetic encoding or by utilizing the cell's own biosynthesis machinery in live cells. This review will highlight recent advances in approaches to track discrete proteins or whole subpopulations of a proteome including post-translational modifications with spatiotemporal resolution.
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