Carrier ampholyte‐free isoelectric focusing on a paper‐based analytical device for the fractionation of proteins

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Feb 23, 2018
  • Author: Song‐Fang Xie, Han Gao, Li‐Li Niu, Zhen‐Sheng Xie, Fang Fang, Zhi‐Yong Wu, Fu‐Quan Yang
  • Journal: Journal of Separation Science


Isoelectric focusing plays a critical role in the analysis of complex protein samples. Conventionally, isoelectric focusing is implemented with carrier ampholytes in capillary or immobilized pH gradient gel. In this study, we successfully exhibited a carrier ampholyte‐free isoelectric focusing on paper‐based analytical device. Proof of the concept was visually demonstrated with color model proteins. Experimental results showed that not only a pH gradient was well established along the open paper fluidic channel as confirmed by pH indicator strip, the pH gradient range could also be tuned by the catholyte or anolyte. Furthermore, the isoelectric focusing fractions from the paper channel can be directly cut and recovered into solutions for post analysis with sodium dodecyl sulfate‐polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and matrix‐assisted laser desorption/ionization‐time‐of‐flight mass spectrometry. This paper‐based isoelectric focusing method is fast, cheap, simple and easy to operate, and could potentially be used as a cost‐effective protein sample clean‐up method for target protein analysis with mass spectrometry.

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