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Proteomics. 2003 Jun;3(6):906-16.

Improved proteome analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondria by free-flow electrophoresis.

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GSF Research Centre for Environment and Health, Institute of Human Genetics, Oberschleissheim, Germany.


The analysis of complex cellular proteomes by means of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) is significantly limited by the power of resolution of this technique. Although subcellular fractionation can be a fundamental first step to increase resolution, it frequently leads to preparations contaminated with other cellular structures. Here, we chose mitochondria of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to demonstrate that an integrated zone-electrophoretic purification step (ZE), with a free-flow electrophoresis device (FFE), can assist in overcoming this problem, while significantly improving their degree of purity. Whereas mitochondrial preparations isolated by means of differential centrifugation include a considerable degree of non-mitochondrial proteins (16%), this contamination could be effectually removed by the inclusion of a ZE-FFE purification step (2%). This higher degree of purity led to the identification of many more proteins from ZE-FFE purified mitochondrial protein extracts (n = 129), compared to mitochondrial protein extracts isolated by differential centrifugation (n = 80). Moreover, a marked decrease of degraded proteins was found in the ZE-FFE purified mitochondrial protein extracts. It is noteworthy that even at a low 2-DE resolution level, a four-fold higher number (17 versus 4) of presumably low abundance proteins could be identified in the ZE-FFE purified mitochondrial protein extracts. Therefore these results represent a feasible approach for an in-depth proteome analysis of mitochondria and possibly other organelles.

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