Application of pulse width modulation to a western blotting device

ThucNhi TruongVo, Purdue University


One of the critical steps in a current Western blot technique is a blotting process, which in general requires one electrophoretic gel for every protein species to be analyzed. In most cases, multiple protein species are analyzed simultaneously and thus it is necessary for a scientist to run multiple gels. In order to make it possible to analyze multiple protein species from a single gel, a novel blotting device, BlotMan, was employed in this study. Designed by Dr. Chien’s group (YC Bioelectric), BlotMan uses pulse width modulation (PWM) for applying a protein size-dependent voltage during a blotting process. In this study, the differential average voltage profile, depending on protein size (e.g. 17 kDa to 140 kDa), was built and enabled BlotMan to transfer all protein species in equal efficiency regardless of the protein size. Furthermore, Blot- Man consists of a user-friendly, custom-made interface box, which can be remotely controlled by a smart phone. BlotMan’s capability was evaluated using standard protein markers, as well as protein samples that were isolated from chondrosarcoma cells (SW1353) and breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-213). The experimental results revealed that BlotMan was capable of generating 5 blotting membranes from a single gel simultaneously. Protein species such as c-Src, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha (eIF2α) and its phosphorylated form (p-eIF2α), lamin B, and β-actin were successfully detected. It is also demonstrated that compared to a regular constant voltage, PWM signals improved transfer efficiency and a signal-to-noise ratio. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that BlotMan was able to facilitate Western blotting analysis by generating multiple blotting membranes from a single gel with an improved signal-to-noise ratio. Further analysis is recommended for understanding the mechanism of PWMts action on transfer efficiency and noise reduction. ^




Hiroki Yokota, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering

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