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Anal Biochem. 2004 Jan 1;324(1):1-10.

Applications of affinity chromatography in proteomics.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, National Chung Cheng University, Chiayi 621, Taiwan.


Affinity chromatography is a powerful protein separation method that is based on the specific interaction between immobilized ligands and target proteins. Peptides can also be separated effectively by affinity chromatography through the use of peptide-specific ligands. Both two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE)- and non-2-DE-based proteomic approaches benefit from the application of affinity chromatography. Before protein separation by 2-DE, affinity separation is used primarily for preconcentration and pretreatment of samples. Those applications entail the removal of one protein or a class of proteins that might interfere with 2-DE resolution, the concentration of low-abundance proteins to enable them to be visualized in the gel, and the classification of total protein into two or more groups for further separation by gel electrophoresis. Non-2-DE-based approaches have extensively employed affinity chromatography to reduce the complexity of protein and peptide mixtures. Prior to mass spectrometry (MS), preconcentration and capture of specific proteins or peptides to enhance sensitivity can be accomplished by using affinity adsorption. Affinity purification of protein complexes followed by identification of proteins by MS serves as a powerful tool for generating a map of protein-protein interactions and cellular locations of complexes. Affinity chromatography of peptide mixtures, coupled with mass spectrometry, provides a tool for the study of protein posttranslational modification (PTM) sites and quantitative proteomics. Quantitation of proteomes is possible via the use of isotope-coded affinity tags and isolation of proteolytic peptides by affinity chromatography. An emerging area of proteomics technology development is miniaturization. Affinity chromatography is becoming more widely used for exploring PTM and protein-protein interactions, especially with a view toward developing new general tag systems and strategies of chemical derivatization on peptides for affinity selection. More applications of affinity-based purification can be expected, including increasing the resolution in 2-DE, improving the sensitivity of MS quantification, and incorporating purification as part of multidimensional liquid chromatography experiments.

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