Dye Hard: Protein Gel Staining Products

he search for methods to visualize proteins resolved by electrophoresis on everything from cellulose acetate strips to polyacrylamide gels goes back to the origins of the electrophoresis itself. When DISC electrophoresis was introduced in the early 1960's (B.J. Davis, Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 121:404, 1964), amido black was the protein stain used most frequently. As the need for staining methods with increased sensitivity and staining uniformity grew to meet the demands of pro

Michael Brush
May 10, 1998
The search for methods to visualize proteins resolved by electrophoresis on everything from cellulose acetate strips to polyacrylamide gels goes back to the origins of the electrophoresis itself. When DISC electrophoresis was introduced in the early 1960's (B.J. Davis, Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 121:404, 1964), amido black was the protein stain used most frequently. As the need for staining methods with increased sensitivity and staining uniformity grew to meet the demands of protein quantitation in gels, amido black faltered. The dye lacked the necessary sensitivity, suffered from lot-to-lot variations, and often stained proteins multichromatically (C.M. Wilson, Methods in Enzymology, 91:236-47, 1983).

A combination of some clever ideas and trial and error over the years has since given rise to a collection of highly sensitive and effective protein gel staining techniques and products. These include the popular and reliable Coomassie Blue, a variety of...

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