Journal of chromatography. A

OFFGEL fractionation of peptides: where really is your sample?

PMID 24939089


Shotgun proteomics of complex samples is generally coupled with at least one peptide fractionation step and, to this effect, peptide isoelectric focusing (IEF) in immobilized pH gradient (IPG) is one of the most used techniques. Fractionation with the OFFGEL 3100 Agilent Technologies apparatus allows the easy recovery of peptides that, after focusing, diffuse into the liquid phase above the gel strip. In this work we investigate the efficiency of peptide diffusion during OFFGEL fractionation and demonstrate that a recovery based only on the spontaneous diffusion process is far from being optimal. We show that a simple additional extraction step with acetonitrile increases of about 40% the amount of material that can be recovered after the focusing. Moreover, we show that the two populations of peptides obtained from the passive elution and from the extraction process are also qualitatively different and only partially overlapping.