Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) remains the
standard for protein separation and identification. Although PAGE techniques
are recognized to have good resolution and dynamic range, the separation
strategies that rely on this technique are hampered by (1) inconvenience and
irreproducibility in preparation of the variety of gels needed for the
separations, (2) limited resolution and dynamic range of biomolecular
separations, (3) susceptibility of the polymer to degradation under high
electric fields, (4) limitations in their compatibility with mass spectrometric
identification of proteins, and (5) relatively large volumes and concentrations
of material needed for detection of separated species. There is a current need
for a new method and/or device for separating and analyzing biomolecules more
Researchers at the University of New Mexico have
invented nanostructured separation matrices used to separate protein molecules.
The microchannel device separates and focuses charged proteins based on
electric field gradient focusing. The device does not use exotic materials such
as antibodies or synthetic ampholytes, but operates by physical means involving
manipulation of electrophoretic and electroosmotic velocities. An important
difference between this novel invention and PAGE is the injection of current at
discrete intersections of the channel rather than continuously along the length
of a separation channel. Significantly, the devices can be manufactured into
networks of nanochannel devices that are integrated with detection systems
which permits evaluation of the purity of biomolecules at various stages of the
purification or analytical procedure.
Potential and Electroosmotic Flow in a Cylindrical Capillary Filled
with Symmetric Electrolyte: Analytic Solutions in Thin Double Layer
Approximation. Petsev, D., Lopez, G.P., J. Coll. Interface Sci., 2006, vol. 294, no. 2, pp. 492-498.
Microchannel protein separation by field gradient focusing. D. N. Petsev, G. P. Lopez, C. F. Ivory and Scott Sibbett, Lab on Chip, 2005, vol. 5, pp. 587-597.
Microchip countercurrent electroseparation.
Ista, L. K., Lopez, G. P., Ivory, C. F., Ortiz, M. J., Schifani, T. A.,
Schwappach, C. D., Sibbett, S. S., Lab on a Chip, 2203, vol. 3, pp.
STC has filed intellectual property on this exciting new technology and is currently exploring commercialization options. If you are interested in information about this or other technologies, please contact Arlene Mirabal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-272-7886.