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Note: Research in this publication was not performed at Janelia.
Biocompatible fluorescent reporters with spectral properties spanning the entire visible spectrum are indispensable tools for imaging the biochemistry of living cells and organisms in real time. Here, we report the engineering of a fluorescent chemogenetic reporter with tunable optical and spectral properties. A collection of fluorogenic chromophores with various electronic properties enables to generate bimolecular fluorescent assemblies that cover the visible spectrum from blue to red using a single protein tag engineered and optimized by directed evolution and rational design. The ability to tune the fluorescence color and properties through simple molecular modulation provides a broad experimental versatility for imaging proteins in live cells, including neurons, and in multicellular organisms, and opens avenues for optimizing Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) biosensors in live cells. The ability to tune the spectral properties and fluorescence performance enables furthermore to match the specifications and requirements of advanced super-resolution imaging techniques.