Infoscience

Thesis

New analytical tools combining gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry

Proteomics has been one of the main projects challenging biological and analytical chemists for many years. The separation, identification and quantification of all the proteins expressed within biological systems remain the main objectives of proteomics. Due to sample complexity, the development of fractionation, separation, purification and detection techniques that possess appropriate resolution to separate a large number of proteins, as well as being sensitive and fast enough for high throughput protein analysis are required. The objective of this thesis was to develop new separation strategies for protein/peptide fractionation using gel electrophoresis and its further detection by mass spectrometry analysis. A multi-electrode set up based on OFFGEL electrophoresis was developed. The objective was to provide a more efficient application of the electric field for fast and improved protein separation. The results showed that using a multi-electrode setup provides not only a higher protein separation but also better protein collection efficiency. Electrophoretic separation using an ultra narrow pH gradient (UNPG) gel was adapted for a three-well OFFGEL device for fast sample purification and desalting. Purification of an E.coli extract was applied to demonstrate that electrophoretic separation with UNPG gels provides an efficient strategy for fast purification of complex biological samples and can be utilized as a preparative technique in proteomics. UNPG gels were also used to separate charge molecules taking place in a new electro-elution device. The molecules were washed from the gel surface by an aqueous buffer and collected for further analysis by mass spectrometry. The electroelution device provides a fast approach that avoids time-consuming steps of extraction from the polyacrylamide gel. An electrostatic spray ionization (ESTASI) mass spectrometry technique was developed in our group to ionize sample solutions on different substrates. ESTASI has been here coupled to isoelectric focusing and demonstrated to be a powerful tool, which can improve the detection sensitivity compared to standard visualizing protocols. Paper-ESTASI-MS was developed and applied for rapid perfume analysis of six authentic fragrances as a high throughput and sample preparation-free method. ESTASI was also applied for quantitative analysis of caffeine in different beverages using a standard addition strip. The results were compared to classical standard addition methods for MS or LC. It was shown that the strip strategy could be utilized for fast and accurate food analysis and quality control. Desalting and direct analysis of samples from ZipTip by ESTASI-MS has been demonstrated.

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