Protein transfer from agarose gel

Bryan J. Maloney bjm10 at cornell.edu
Tue Jun 26 15:23:18 EST 2001

I'm developing a variation of the blue native agarose gel 
electrophoresis (BNAGE) method (Henderson et al. 2000. Separation of 
intact pyruvate dehydrogenase complex using blue native agarose gel 
electrophoresis. Electrophoresis. 21(14):2925-2931.)  The original 
method is a two-dimensional analysis, wherein the native gel is then cut 
into separate lanes and used as the source for the denaturing gel.  
Since they're analyzing a heteromeric pyruvate complex, this makes 
perfect sense.

I got the two-dimensional version to work, but in my own case, I am 
trying to develop a way to study approximate proporations of aggregation 
and assembly of viral capsid subunits (55kDa each) into a homologous VLP 
of roughly 10MDa (yes, that's megadaltons) in a foreign expression 

Since I have no actual need to analytically separate heterologous 
subunits from each other, I would like to eliminate the second dimension 
and transfer from the agarose gel directly to PVDF for Western analysis.  
Breaking up/denaturing the VLPs and other aggregates would not cause me 
a problem.  I don't need them to be intact on the blot, only to not be 
denatured while run on the agarose gel.

I have already tried a simple tank transfer from from the freshly-run 
gel, using my running buffer (MOPS-Tricine, pH7, with 0.005% 
Coomassie Brilliant Blue G) plus 10% MeOH as the transfer buffer.  No 

I now intend to try soaking the gel 30 minutes in two volumes 
tris-glycine plus 1% SDS, 1% mercaptoethanol, then soak it another 2x30 
minutes in 5 volumes tris-glycine plus 0.1% SDS, 10% MeOH and then try a 
tank transfer in the tris-glycine buffer.

Anyone have any suggestions?  Should I stick with MOPS-tricine for the 
soaks and transfer?  Can I just eliminate the BME altogether?

Bryan J. Maloney
Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research

PS:  BNAGE is not a pI-based method.  It does not rely upon the 
native charge of the protein.

PPS:  I'm very familiar with sucrose gradients, but these are cumbersome 
and still have to be analyzed at the end via ELISA or Western blot.  
Likewise, they are by necessity discontinuous in analysis (even if 
continous in creation), and the finer a picture I want, the more 
fractions have to be collected.  Likewise, I'm limited by the need to 
run controls, which means that only a few actual samples can be run on a 
single spin.

"A 'Cape Cod Salsa' just isn't right."

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