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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Improvement of automatic in-gel digestion by in situ alkylation of proteins.

We have recently improved the automation of an in-gel digestion system, DigestPro 96, using in situ alkylation of proteins with acrylamide, conducted during one-dimensional (ID) SDS-PAGE. The improved method included the processes of destaining, dehydration, trypsin digestion, and extraction but excluded the reduction and alkylation steps following staining of proteins with CBB. The extracted peptide mixtures were directly loaded onto a micro C18 LC column of the mass spectrometer. The resultant spectra were processed with "Mascot" search engine to estimate the sequence coverage of the bovine serum albumin ( BSA). The original method, designed for Laemmli ID SDS gel applications, consisted of reduction and post-alkylation with iodoacetamide, which produced carboxyamidemethyl (CAM; -S-CH2CONH2) derivatives. The original method also included a desalting step essential for mass spectrometry, especially matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. We compared the original and improved methods using BSA (3 pmol loaded to the gel, one third of digested peptide mixture injected into LC-MS). The original method yielded both CAM and propionicamide (PAM;-S-CH2CH2CONH2) derivatives. The source of PAM derivatives is the unpolymerized acrylamide formed during electrophoresis. The sequence coverage of CAM derivatives of BSA by the original method was 10% with desalting and 19% without desalting. The sequence coverage of PAM derivative by the improved method was 32%. Our results clearly show the advantage of our improved automated in-gel digestion method for in situ PAM alkylated protein with respect to peptide recovery, compared with the original method with CAM post-alkylation.[1]


  1. Improvement of automatic in-gel digestion by in situ alkylation of proteins. Yokono, T., Mineki, R., Taka, H., Kotaniguchi, H., Murayama, K. Journal of biomolecular techniques : JBT. (2003) [Pubmed]
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