High Throughput Gel Shifts

To determine whether a given transcription factor activity is present in a sample, you need look no farther than the standard electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). In an EMSA, researchers mix a radioactively labeled DNA probe with a protein extract and run the entire reaction on a nondenaturing polyacrylamide gel. Because the protein-bound probe will migrate more slowly than a free probe, the experiment is described as a "gel shift." Unfortunately, the gel shift is a cumbersome way to pro

Jeffrey Perkel
Sep 16, 2001
To determine whether a given transcription factor activity is present in a sample, you need look no farther than the standard electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). In an EMSA, researchers mix a radioactively labeled DNA probe with a protein extract and run the entire reaction on a nondenaturing polyacrylamide gel. Because the protein-bound probe will migrate more slowly than a free probe, the experiment is described as a "gel shift." Unfortunately, the gel shift is a cumbersome way to profile the activity of many transcription factors at once, because for every factor you wish to test, a separate labeled probe needs to be generated. Now, however, Redwood City, Calif.-based Panomics Inc. has released a new transcription factor screening system, the MYRIA™ protein/DNA array, which can detect binding to 54 separate transcription factors' binding sites in a single assay.

Using the array is simple. Researchers mix protein extracts (e.g., nuclear extracts...