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Microfabricated Two-Dimensional Electrophoresis Device for Differential Protein Expression Profiling

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journal contribution
posted on 2007-10-01, 00:00 authored by Charles A. Emrich, Igor L. Medintz, Wai K. Chu, Richard A. Mathies
A microfluidic separation system is developed to perform two-dimensional differential gel electrophoretic (DIGE) separations of complex, cellular protein mixtures produced by induced protein expression in E. coli. The micro-DIGE analyzer is a two-layer borosilicate glass microdevice consisting of a single 3.75 cm long channel for isoelectric focusing, which is sampled in parallel by 20 channels effecting a second-dimension separation by native electrophoresis. The connection between the orthogonal separation systems is accomplished by smaller channels comprising a microfluidic interface (MFI) that prevents media leakage between the two dimensions and enables facile loading of discontinuous gel systems in each dimension. Proteins are covalently labeled with Cy2 and Cy3 DIGE and detected simultaneously with a rotary confocal fluorescence scanner. Reproducible two-dimensional separations of both purified proteins and complex protein mixtures are performed with minimal run-to-run variation by including 7 M urea in the second-dimension separation matrix. The capabilities of the micro-DIGE analyzer are demonstrated by following the induced expression of maltose binding protein in E. coli. Although the absence of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) in the second-dimension sizing separation limits the orthogonality and peak capacity of the separation, this analyzer is a significant first step toward the reproducible two-dimensional analysis of complex protein samples in microfabricated devices. Furthermore, the microchannel interface structures developed here will facilitate other multidimensional separations in microdevices.