:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 05-22-2012
Power supplies that are used for electrophoresis hold one parameter constant (either voltage, current, or power). The PowerPac™ HC and PowerPac Universal power supplies also have an automatic crossover capability that allows the power supply to switch over to a variable parameter if a set output limit is reached. This helps prevent damage to the transfer cell.
During transfer, if the resistance in the system decreases as a result of Joule heating, the consequences are different and depend on which parameter is held constant.
Transfers Under Constant Voltage
If the voltage is held constant throughout a transfer, the current in most transfer systems increases as the resistance drops due to heating (the exception is most semi-dry systems, where current actually drops as a result of buffer depletion). Therefore, the overall power increases during transfer, and more heating occurs. Despite the increased risk of heating, a constant voltage ensures that field strength remains constant, providing the most efficient transfer possible for tank blotting methods. Use of the cooling elements available with the various tank blotting systems should prevent problems with heating.
Transfers Under Constant Current
If the current is held constant during a run, a decrease in resistance results in a decrease in voltage and power over time. Though heating is minimized, proteins are transferred more slowly due to decreased field strength.
Transfers Under Constant Power
If the power is held constant during a transfer, changes in resistance result in increases in current, but to a lesser degree than when voltage is held constant. Constant power is an alternative to constant current for regulating heat production during transfer.
The above information was adapted from Bio-Rad’s protein blotting guide. For more great information, be sure to download the Protein Blotting Guide from Bio-Rad Laboratories.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 05-02-2012
The following are the top 8 causes for overall high background on your western blot and potential solutions:
- Blocking was incomplete
- Increase the concentration of blocker
- Increase the duration of the blocking step
- Use a different blocking agent
- Blocker was impure
- Use a pure protein such as BSA or casein as a blocker
- Wash protocols were insufficient
- Increase the number, duration, or stringency of the washes
- Include progressively stronger detergents in the washes; for example, SDS is stronger than Nonidet P-40 (NP-40), which is stronger than Tween 20
- Include Tween 20 in the antibody dilution buffers to reduce nonspecific binding
- The blot was left in the enzyme substrate too long (colorimetric detection)
- Remove the blot from the substrate solution when the signal-to-noise level is acceptable, and immerse in diH2O
- Contamination occurred during electrophoresis or transfer
- Discard and prepare fresh gels and transfer solutions
- Replace or thoroughly clean contaminated foam pads if a tank blotter was used
- Excessive amounts of protein were loadedon the gel or too much SDS was used inthe transfer buffer. Proteins can pass through the membrane without binding and recirculate through a tank blotting system.
- Reduce the amount of protein on the gel or SDS in the transfer buffer
- Add a second sheet of membrane to bind excess protein
- The primary or secondary antibody was too concentrated
- Increase antibody dilutions
- Perform a dot-blot experiment to optimize working antibody concentration
- Incubation trays were contaminated
- Clean the trays or use disposable trays
For more great information, download the protein blotting guide from Bio-Rad Laboratories.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-31-2012
Yesterday we told you about how to get more data from your western blots by utilizing multiplex fluorescent detection. Today, we will provide you with a primer on fluorescent detection taken from the Bio-Rad Laboratories Protein Blotting Guide.
In fluorescence, a high-energy photon (ℎVex) excites a fluorophore, causing it to leave the ground state (S0) and enter a higher energy state (S’1). Some of this energy dissipates, allowing the fluorophore to enter a relaxed excited state (S1). A photon of light is emitted (ℎVem), returning the fluorophore to the ground state. The emitted photon is of a lower energy
(longer wavelength) due to the dissipation of energy while in the excited state.
When using fluorescence detection, consider the following optical characteristics of the fluorophores to optimize the signal:
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-30-2012
The most common method for analyzing protein expression levels is western blotting with detetion of a single protein target, using horseradish peroxidase-conjugated or alkaline phosphatase-conjugated antibody probes combined with colorimetric or chemiluminescent detection. While these methods work well for studying a single target, they are unsuitable for anlayzing multiple targets at the same time, particularly if the target proteins are of unknown or similar sizes. For analysis of multiple targets, the blot is typically stripped and reprobed for additional targets of interest. Reprobing is time consuming, and often some of the target protein on the blot is lost as a result of the stripping procedure. If one protein is removed to a greater of lesser extent relative to another protein, the ability to quantitate the relative amounts of diffferent proteins of interest is compromised.
In this technical note, you will be introduced to fluorescent western blotting detection which is superior to traditional western blotting when trying to analyze multiple proteins.
- fast and quantitative detection of multiple proteins in a single experiment
- sensitivity compared to chemiluminescent detection
- linear dynamic range up to 10 times greater than that of chemiluminescent detection
- fewer experimental steps than chemiluminescent detection
- no substrate requirement, and therefore no risk of exhausting the substrate and causing a “dead zone” in the blot
- the ability to visualize and quantitate both phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated forms of individual proteins
The technical note is divided into three sections to help those who are new to fluorescent western blot detection quickly generate reliable and reproducible results.
Click here to download the the technote now!
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-19-2012
So you’ve isolated your protein, ran them on a gel and now you’re ready to transfer them to a membrane to begin western blotting. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Don’t forget to equilibrate your gel prior to beginning your transfer. Gel equilibration generally involves rinsing the gel in diH2O and soaking it in transfer buffer for approximately 15 min. While it may sound simple, (and it truly is), it is a step that might make the difference between an ugly blot and one that is publication worthy.
Below are some points to consider about gel equilibration:
- Gel equilibration removes contaminating electrophoresis buffer salts. If not removed, these salts increase the conductivity of the transfer buffer and the amount of heat generated during transfer.
- Equilibration also allows the gel to adjust to its final size prior to electrophoretic transfer. Gels shrink or swell to various degrees in the transfer buffer depending on the acrylamide percentage and the buffer composition.
- Equilibration is not necessary (i) when the same buffer is used for both electrophoresis and transfer (for example, native gel transfers), or (ii) when using rapid semi-dry transfer systems such as the Trans-Blot® Turbo™ system (consult the user manual for the system you are using).
To learn more tips and tricks, download the Protein Blotting Guide from Bio-Rad Laboartories.