Improved electrophoresis and transfer of picogram amounts of protein with hemoglobin

Peter G. Gillespie, Susan K.H. Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


During electrophoresis and electroblotting to transfer membranes, picogram amounts of protein can react irreversibly with the polyacrylamide matrix, preventing complete electrophoresis and efficient electroblotting. Bovine hemoglobin, but not other potential carrier proteins, mitigates this protein loss by migrating with or ahead of other proteins and scavenging reactive groups. Inclusion of 5 μg of hemoglobin in sample wells increases by 4-fold the amount of a radiolabeled test protein, myosin Iβ, found at its appropriate 120-kDa position in sodium dodecyl sulfatepolyacrylamide gels. For electroblotting, incubating the gel with 0.25 mg/ml hemoglobin prior to transfer improves mobilization of picogram amounts of radiolabeled myosin Iβ out of the gel by about 6-fold. For picogram amounts of proteins, therefore, ~20-fold more protein transfers to a blotting membrane when hemoglobin is used during both electrophoresis and transfer. This effect is general: transfer of radiolabeled Drosophila embryo proteins is improved dramatically by including hemoglobin in the pretransfer incubation solution. We suggest that electroblot-based detection of small amounts of protein, particularly when in the absence of other potential carrier proteins, can be improved substantially by using hemoglobin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Improved electrophoresis and transfer of picogram amounts of protein with hemoglobin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this