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

Procedures and computer program for deriving the Ferguson plot from electrophoresis in a single pore gradient gel: application to agarose gel and a polystyrene particle.

This study presents a computerized evaluation of pore gradient gel electrophoretograms to arrive at estimates for both the particle-free mobility and retardation coefficient, which is related to particle size. Agarose pore gradient gels ranging from 0.2 to 1.1% agarose were formed. Gel gradients were stabilized during their formation by a density gradient of 0-20% 5-(N-2,3-dihydroxypropylacetamido)- 2,4,6-triiodo-N,N'bis-(2,3-dihydroxypropyl)-isophthalamide (Nycodenz). Densitometry of gelled-in Bromophenol Blue showed that these pore gradients exhibited a linear central segment and were reproducible. Migration distances of polystyrene sulfate microspheres (36.5 nm radius) in agarose pore gradient gel electrophoresis were determined by time-lapse photography at several durations of electrophoresis. These migration distances were evaluated as a function of migration time as previously reported (D. Tietz, Adv. Electrophoresis 1988, 2, 109-169). Although this is not necessarily required, the mathematical approach used in this study assumed linearity of both the pore gradient and the Ferguson plot for reasons of simplicity. The data evaluation on the basis of the extended Ogston model is incorporated in a user-friendly program, GRADFIT, which is designed for personal computers (Macintosh). The results obtained are compared with (1) conventional electrophoresis using several gels of single concentration with and without Nycodenz, and (ii) a different mathematical approach for the analysis of gradient gels (Rodbard et al., Anal. Biochem. 1971, 40, 135-157). Moreover, a simple procedure for evaluating linear pore gradient gels using linear regression analysis is presented. It is concluded that the values of particle-free mobility and retardation coefficient derived from pore gradient gel electrophoresis using the different mathematical methods are statistically indistinguishable from each other. However, these values are different, albeit close, to those obtained from conventional Ferguson plots. One of the possible reasons for this relatively minor discrepancy is that the particle-free mobility changed slightly during electrophoresis, which has a different effect on electrophoresis in homogeneous gels (single time measurement) and pore gradient gels (multiple time measurements). The characterization of particles according to size and charge by pore gradient electrophoresis provides a significant operational simplification and sample economy compared to that requiring the use of several gel concentrations, although at the price of increased requirements of instrumentation.[1]


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