Coomassie staining provides routine (sub)femtomole in‐gel detection of intact proteoforms: Expanding opportunities for genuine Top‐down Proteomics

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Sep 26, 2017
  • Author: Nour Noaman, Prabhodh S. Abbineni, Michael Withers, Jens R. Coorssen


Modified colloidal Coomassie Brilliant Blue (cCBB) staining utilising a novel destain protocol and near‐infrared fluorescence detection (nIRFD) rivals the in‐gel protein detection sensitivity (DS) of SYPRO Ruby. However, established DS estimates are likely inaccurate in terms of 2DE‐resolved proteoform ‘spots’ since DS is routinely measured from comparatively diffuse protein ‘bands’ following wide‐well 1DE. Here, cCBB DS for 2DE‐based proteomics was more accurately determined using narrow‐well 1DE. As precise estimates of protein standard monomer concentrations are essential for accurate quantitation, coupling UV absorbance with gel‐based purity assessments is described. Further, as cCBB is compatible with both nIRFD and densitometry, the impacts of imaging method (and image resolution) on DS were assessed. Narrow‐well 1DE enabled more accurate quantitation of cCBB DS for 2DE, achieving (sub)femtomole DS with either nIRFD or densitometry. While densitometry offers comparative simplicity and affordability, nIRFD has the unique potential for enhanced DS with Deep Imaging. Higher‐resolution nIRFD also improved analysis of a 2DE‐resolved proteome, surpassing the DS of standard nIRFD and densitometry, with nIRFD Deep Imaging further maximising proteome coverage. cCBB DS for intact proteins rivals that of mass spectrometry (MS) for peptides in complex mixtures, reaffirming that 2DE‐MS currently provides the most routine, broadly applicable, robust, and information‐rich Top‐down approach to Discovery Proteomics.

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