Hls

Decreasing, pI

FIGURE 3-22 Two-dimensional electrophoresis. (a) Proteins are first separated by isoelectric focusing in a cylindrical gel. The gel is then laid horizontally on a second, slab-shaped gel, and the proteins are separated by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Horizontal separation reflects differences in pI; vertical separation reflects differences in molecular weight. (b) More than 1,000 different proteins from E. coli can be resolved using this technique.

FIGURE 3-22 Two-dimensional electrophoresis. (a) Proteins are first separated by isoelectric focusing in a cylindrical gel. The gel is then laid horizontally on a second, slab-shaped gel, and the proteins are separated by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Horizontal separation reflects differences in pI; vertical separation reflects differences in molecular weight. (b) More than 1,000 different proteins from E. coli can be resolved using this technique.

when further purification steps fail to increase specific activity and when only a single protein species can be detected (for example, by electrophoresis).

For proteins that are not enzymes, other quantification methods are required. Transport proteins can be assayed by their binding to the molecule they transport, and hormones and toxins by the biological effect they produce; for example, growth hormones will stimulate the growth of certain cultured cells. Some structural proteins represent such a large fraction of a tissue mass that they can be readily extracted and purified without a functional assay. The approaches are as varied as the proteins themselves.

After each purification step, the activity of the preparation (in units of enzyme activity) is assayed, the total amount of protein is determined independently, and the ratio of the two gives the specific activity. Activity and total protein generally decrease with each step. Activity decreases because some loss always occurs due to inactivation or nonideal interactions with chromatographic materials or other molecules in the solution. Total protein decreases because the objective is to remove as much unwanted or nonspecific protein as possible. In a successful step, the loss of nonspecific protein is much greater than the loss of activity; therefore, specific activity increases even as total activity falls. The data are then assembled in a purification table similar to Table 3-5. A protein is generally considered pure

FIGURE 3-23 Activity versus specific activity.The difference between these two terms can be illustrated by considering two beakers of marbles. The beakers contain the same number of red marbles, but different numbers of marbles of other colors. If the marbles represent proteins, both beakers contain the same activity of the protein represented by the red marbles. The second beaker, however, has the higher specific activity because here the red marbles represent a much higher fraction of the total.

SUMMARY 3.3 Working with Proteins

■ Proteins are separated and purified by taking advantage of differences in their properties. Proteins can be selectively precipitated by the addition of certain salts. A wide range of chromatographic procedures makes use of differences in size, binding affinities, charge, and other properties. These include ionexchange, size-exclusion, affinity, and highperformance liquid chromatography.

■ Electrophoresis separates proteins on the basis of mass or charge. SDS gel electrophoresis and isoelectric focusing can be used separately or in combination for higher resolution.

■ All purification procedures require a method for quantifying or assaying the protein of interest in the presence of other proteins. Purification can be monitored by assaying specific activity.

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