Researchers who analyze and isolate specific proteins and nucleic acids often find that gel electrophoresis is the method of choice for these experiments. Proteins or nucleic acid mixtures are separated into individual species based on differences in molecular weight as they migrate through an acrylamide or agarose gel in the presence of an electric field. In addition to serving as an analytical tool, individual proteins and nucleic acids, once separated, can then be isolated in pure form by the electroelution of a specific band from the gel into an aqueous phase. While these procedures typically require multiple steps and more than one piece of equipment, Isco Inc., based in Lincoln, Neb., has developed a multifunctional electrophoresis system in which electrophoretic separation and recovery of specific molecules by electroelution are performed in the same apparatus.
The device, priced at $295, will be available next month. The system includes a horizontal buffer tank, an "ultrviolet-transparent 9 x 10-cm gel tray, combs for three- and I 2-well gels, and two types of electroelution accessories. Isco’s electroelution cups efficiently recover and concentrate molecules from gels. Small-volume salt traps permit the recovery of nanogram quantities of DNA. Other features include an electrode design that, according to the company, minimizes outer lane distortion, thus increasing the effective capacity of the system. In addition, the deep blue color of the tank makes it easier for the investigator to see the submerged wells when applying samples. Isco
Wendy Wilson Sheridan is research director, National Disease Research Interchange and V. Richard Sheridan is apost doctoral associate in pharmacology at Fox Chose Cancer Center, both in Philadelphia.