Picture of UK Houses of Parliament

Leading national thinking on politics, government & public policy through Open Access research

Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by researchers in the School of Government & Public Policy, based within the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Research here is 1st in Scotland for research intensity and spans a wide range of domains. The Department of Politics demonstrates expertise in understanding parties, elections and public opinion, with additional emphases on political economy, institutions and international relations. This international angle is reflected in the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) which conducts comparative research on public policy. Meanwhile, the Centre for Energy Policy provides independent expertise on energy, working across multidisciplinary groups to shape policy for a low carbon economy.

Explore the Open Access research of the School of Government & Public Policy. Or explore all of Strathclyde's Open Access research...

Distortion of protein analysis in primary neuronal cultures by serum albumin from culture medium : a methodological approach to improve target protein quantification

Willis, Ashleigh and Pratt, Judith A. and Morris, Brian J. (2018) Distortion of protein analysis in primary neuronal cultures by serum albumin from culture medium : a methodological approach to improve target protein quantification. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 308. pp. 1-5. ISSN 0165-0270

[img] Text (Willis-et-al-JNM-2018-Distortion-of-protein-analysis-in-primary-neuronal-cultures)
Accepted Author Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 6 July 2019.
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 logo

Download (610kB) | Request a copy from the Strathclyde author


    BACKGROUND: Primary neuronal cultures underpin diverse neuroscience experiments, including various protein analysis techniques, such as Western blotting, whereby protein extraction from cultured neurons is required. During immunoblotting experiments, we encountered problems due to a highly-abundant protein of 65-70 KDa present in the cell extracts, that interfered with total protein estimation, and immunodetection of target proteins of similar size. Previous research has suggested that serum proteins, specifically albumin, contained within commonly-used culture media, can bind to, or be adsorbed by, generic cell culture plasticware. This residual albumin may then be extracted along with cell proteins. NEW METHOD: We made simple modifications to wash steps of traditional cell lysis/extraction protocols. RESULTS: We report that a substantial amount of albumin, accumulated from the standard culture media, is extracted from primary neuronal cultures along with the cellular contents. This contamination can be reduced, without changing the culture conditions, by modifying wash procedures. COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS: Accumulated albumin from neuronal culture media, in amounts equivalent to cellular contents, can distort data from total protein assays and from the immunoreactive signal from nearby bands on Western blots. By altering wash protocols during protein extraction, these problems can be ameliorated. CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that the standard extended culture periods for primary neuronal cultures, coupled with the requirement for successive medium changes, may leave them particularly susceptible to cumulative albumin contamination from the culture media used. Finally, we propose the implementation of simple alterations to wash steps in protein extraction protocols which can ameliorate this interference.