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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2002;16(1):35-42.

India ink staining after sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and in conjunction with Western blots for peptide mapping by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

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Biomedical Mass Spectrometry and Functional Proteomics Facility, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


We present an approach that allows matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometric (MALDI-TOFMS) peptide mapping of proteins separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and electroblotted onto nitrocellulose (NC). After blocking the nitrocellulose membrane with polyvinylpyrrolidone-40 the immobilized proteins are visualized using India Ink staining which allows the detection of low nanogram amounts of protein. The utilization of a low concentration of Tween 20 (0.05%) in the India Ink staining solution does not negatively impair the quality of the mass spectra. Due to the virtual nondestructive nature of the stain proteolytic peptides could be recovered from the NC membrane. Taking into account minor precautions during the sample manipulation and concentration and by loading the sample onto a pre-crystallized matrix layer, high quality mass spectral data were obtained on <100 femtomoles of protein loaded onto the gel. Finally, the use of India Ink in conjunction with Western blot analysis is also demonstrated. A rat plasma protein, characterized by Western blot as a covalently modified protein-drug compound, was subjected to peptide mapping and post source decay (PSD) sequencing of peptides. The zomepirac-modified protein was identified as the alpha-subunit of fibrinogen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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