While researchers have long relied on electrophoretic mobility-shift assays (called gel shifts) to identify which transcription factors bind to DNA samples, the method can be time-consuming and requires the use of radiolabeled nucleotide to track protein-DNA complexes.

Now Novagen http://www.novagen.com, a brand of San Diego-based EMD Biosciences, is offering a new alternative to gel shifts with its NoShift Transcription Factor Assay Kit. The kit eliminates gels altogether, immobilizing DNA inside 96-well microplates instead, where binding factors can be isolated quickly and without radioactive labels.

Microplate assay users "get their data relatively quick," says Michael Atchison, a University of Pennsylvania biochemistry professor. "Whereas in a gel shift, results can go anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the film exposure length." The NoShift kit can perform a complete 96-reaction run in about five hours, according to Annette Pownell, supervisor of technical services for Novagen.

NoShift microplates...

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