Recent advances in electrophoretic techniques for the characterization of protein biomolecules: A poker of aces

Pier Giorgio Righetti, Giovanni Candiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The four classical modes of electrophoresis of protein molecules (sodium dodecyl sulphate electrophoresis, SDS-PAGE, isoelectric focusing, IEF, and immobilized pH gradients, IPGs, two-dimensional maps, 2D, and capillary electrophoresis, CE) are here reviewed, with special emphasis on recent innovations. Thus, in the case of SDS-PAGE, a novel method, consisting in focusing SDS-protein micelles against a gradient of cationic charges grafted onto a polyacrylamide gel is presented. In the case of IEF, the recent decoding of the structure, polydispersity, molecular mass distribution and buffering properties of the soluble carrier ampholyte buffers are here discussed. In regard to two dimensional mapping, recent instrumentation for performing 2D maps in horizontal, large gel slabs (up to 30. cm. ×. 40. cm) and in a radial format for the SDS dimension is here evaluated. Finally, in the case of CE, three major applications are presented: a thorough study of capillary IEF and of all experimental variables, a method of importance in screening of rDNA products; the possibility of running proteins and peptide separations in very acidic, amphoteric, isoelectric buffers in absence of any capillary coating; finally, the possibility of producing a facile, user friendly, covalent coating of the wall silanols via bonding of quaternarized piperazines endowed with an iodinated tail. In acidic, volatile buffers, such protein/peptide runs can be directly interfaced with mass spectrometry instrumentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8727-8737
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - Dec 9 2011


  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • Isoelectric focusing
  • Two-dimensional maps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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