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Electrophoresis. 2011 Nov;32(21):2966-74. doi: 10.1002/elps.201100183. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

A comparison of depletion versus equalization for reducing high-abundance proteins in human serum.

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Laboratorio de Investigación Osteoarticular y del Envejecimiento, Unidad de Proteómica-Nodo Asociado a ProteoRed-(Genoma España), Centro de Investigación Biomédica, Servicio de Reumatología, INIBIC, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de A Coruña, Coruña, Spain.


In this work three methods to diminish the content of most highly abundant proteins in human serum have been studied and compared. Protein depletion with ACN or DTT and protein equalization with the ProteoMiner(™) (PM) have been assessed by 1-D gel electrophoresis and MS. After treatment 5, 18 and 9 major proteins within the 20 most abundant proteins in serum were identified for the ACN, DTT and PM methods, respectively. The ACN method was efficient for depleting high molecular weight proteins, over 75 KDa, resulting in 10±4% (n=3) of the total protein content remaining in the depleted serum. In addition, 75% of the proteins belonging to the group of the 20 most abundant proteins were not detected, making this depletion strategy a cheap alternative to expensive commercial tools regularly used for removing high abundance proteins from serum. The ACN extract was found rich in apolipoproteins. The dithithreitol method promotes the precipitation of proteins rich in disulfide bonds, mainly albumin, with 73±7% (n=3) of the total protein content remaining in the depleted serum, which was found rich in immunoglobulins. The PM method compresses the dynamic range of the serum proteins, rendering an extract containing 16±2% (n=3) of the total initial protein content. The extract was found to be rich in both apolipoproteins and immunoglobulins. As a general rule the DTT and PM methods provide a compression of the dynamic range of serum protein concentrations while the ACN method allows an effective depletion of the protein fraction above 72 KDa.

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