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      Increase in local protein concentration by field-inversion gel electrophoresis

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          Proteins that migrate through cross-linked polyacrylamide gels (PAGs) under the influence of a constant electric field experience negative factors, such as diffusion and non-specific trapping in the gel matrix. These negative factors reduce protein concentrations within a defined gel volume with increasing migration distance and, therefore, decrease protein separation efficiency. Enhancement of protein separation efficiency was investigated by implementing pulsed field-inversion gel electrophoresis (FIGE).


          Separation of model protein species and large protein complexes was compared between FIGE and constant field electrophoresis (CFE) in different percentages of PAGs. Band intensities of proteins in FIGE with appropriate ratios of forward and backward pulse times were superior to CFE despite longer running times. These results revealed an increase in band intensity per defined gel volume. A biphasic protein relative mobility shift was observed in percentages of PAGs up to 14%. However, the effect of FIGE on protein separation was stochastic at higher PAG percentage. Rat liver lysates subjected to FIGE in the second-dimension separation of two-dimensional polyarcylamide gel electrophoresis (2D PAGE) showed a 20% increase in the number of discernible spots compared with CFE. Nine common spots from both FIGE and CFE were selected for peptide sequencing by mass spectrometry (MS), which revealed higher final ion scores of all nine protein spots from FIGE. Native protein complexes ranging from 800 kDa to larger than 2000 kDa became apparent using FIGE compared with CFE.


          The present investigation suggests that FIGE under appropriate conditions improves protein separation efficiency during PAGE as a result of increased local protein concentration. FIGE can be implemented with minimal additional instrumentation in any laboratory setting. Despite the tradeoff of longer running times, FIGE can be a powerful protein separation tool.

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          Most cited references 30

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          Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4.

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            Separation of yeast chromosome-sized DNAs by pulsed field gradient gel electrophoresis.

            A new type of gel electrophoresis separates DNA molecules up to 2000 kb with resolutions exceeding the logarithmic molecular weight dependence of conventional electrophoresis. The technique uses 1.5% agarose, 10 to 20 micrograms of DNA per well, and low ionic strength buffers. It employs alternately pulsed, perpendicularly oriented electrical fields, at least one of which is inhomogeneous. The duration of the applied electrical pulses is varied from 1 sec to 90 sec to achieve optimal separations for DNAs with sizes from 30 to 2000 kb. This pulsed field gradient gel electrophoresis fractionates intact S. cerevisiae chromosomal DNA, producing a molecular karyotype that greatly facilitates the assignment of genes to yeast chromosomes. Each yeast chromosome consists of a single piece of DNA; the chromosome sizes are consistent with the genetic linkage map. We also describe a general method for preparing spheroplasts, and cell lysates, without significant chromosomal DNA breakage.
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              Mass spectrometric identification of proteins from silver-stained polyacrylamide gel: a method for the removal of silver ions to enhance sensitivity.

              Mass spectrometry is a powerful technique for the identification of proteins at nanogram quantities. However, some degree of sample preparation prior to mass spectrometry is required, and silver-stained protein gel samples are most problematic. Here we report our strategy to obtain peptide mass profiles from silver-stained protein gel samples from one- or two-dimensional gels by destaining prior to enzymatic digestion. This study demonstrates that by using the destaining method, the sensitivity and quality of mass spectra is increased for matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometric analysis, permitting more proteins to be identified by peptide mass database analysis.

                Author and article information

                Proteome Sci
                Proteome Science
                BioMed Central
                26 September 2007
                : 5
                : 18
                [1 ]Medical Proteomics and Bioanalysis Section, Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore
                [2 ]Bio-Rad Laboratories, Hercules, USA
                [3 ]Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, USA
                Copyright © 2007 Tsai et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Molecular biology


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