Native Gel Electrophoresis

Native Gel Electrophoresis

Native Gel Electrophoresis is a technique used mainly in protein electrophoresis where the proteins are not denatured and therefore separated based on their charge-to-mass ratio.

The two main types of native gels used in protein electrophoresis are polyacrlylamide gels and agarose gels.

Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) is used for separating proteins ranging in size from 5 to 2,000 kDa due to the uniform pore size provided by the polyacrylamide gel. Pore size is controlled by controlling the concentrations of acrylamide and bis-acrylamide powder used in creating a gel. Care must be used when creating this type of gel, as acrylamide is a potent neurotoxin in its liquid and powdered form. The other type of gel used is agarose gel. Agarose gels can also be used to separate native protein. They do not have a uniform pore size, but are optimal for electrophoresis of proteins that are larger than 200 kDa.

Unlike SDS-PAGE type electrophoreses, Native gel electrophoresis does not use a charged denaturing agent. The molecules being separated (usually proteins) therefore differ in Molecular mass and intrinsic charge and experience different electrophoretic forces dependent on the ration of the two. Since the proteins remain in the native state they may be visualised not only by general protein staining reagents but also by specific enzyme-linked staining.

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