Selecting a gel for western blotting

In today’s western blotting tip, we will look at how to select the appropriate gel.

Figure 1: Comparative separation of TGX Any kD acrylamide gel and 4-20% gradient gel. An E. Coli homogenate (20 μg) was separated on both Criterion™ TGX Any kD Stain-Free™ and 4-20% gels at 300V in 18 min, and the total protein content was visualised by Stain-Free detection using the Gel Doc™ EZ imaging system.

For a good separation of a complex mixture of proteins over a wide range of MW, it is usually recommended to use a gel that has a gradient of concentration of acrylamide across its length. Bio-Rad offers, within its new Mini-PROTEAN TGX™ gel line, a special flavour that extends even further the resolution between 10 and 100 kD, where most of the proteins separated in electrophoresis are present. Even with a homogeneous acrylamide %, its special chemistry generates this particular pattern. This Any kD gel represents a good choice for the optimal separation in that range. See in Figure 1 the comparative resolution of an E. Coli homogenate separated in a TGX Any kD and a 4-20% gradient gel. Note that this special gel, like all the TGX gels, has a 12 months shelf life, is compatible with the standard Laemmli Tris-Glycine-SDS running buffer and can run faster down to 10 minutes for the mini format.

Bottom line: unless you require a very tight resolution, your best bet is usually to pick a gradient gel. Why settle for looking at a narrow range of proteins when you can have good separation of many proteins in one gel?

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