Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy as a Readout Tool for Protein Electrophoresis
Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) was used to image silver-stained proteins on a poly(vinylidene difluoride) membrane. The method is based on measuring the current at a scanning microelectrode in the feedback mode. The electrochemical feedback is caused by the redox-mediated etching of the isolated 5−10-nm-diameter silver nanoparticles formed during the staining process. Several parameters, such as the redox mediator and the staining protocol, were optimized to ensure a high resolution and a low detection limit, i.e., 0.5 ng of bovine serum albumin (4 × 10-14 mol) distributed on an area of 1 mm2 (4 × 10-16 mol·cm-2). Images of β-lactoglobulin A and myoglobin bands after gel electrophoretic separation and electroblotting were obtained in order to demonstrate that SECM can be employed as a sensitive and quantitative readout method for detection of proteins after gel electrophoresis. An additional advantage is that the silver staining can be removed, allowing further downstream mass spectrometry analysis.