In this paper, we are evaluating the strategy of sorting peptides/proteins based on the charge to mass without resorting to ampholytes and/or isoelectric focusing, using a single- and two-step free-flow zone electrophoresis. We developed a simple fabrication method to create a salt bridge for free-flow zone electrophoresis in PDMS chips by surface printing a hydrophobic layer on a glass substrate. Since the surface-printed hydrophobic layer prevents plasma bonding between the PDMS chip and the substrate, an electrical junction gap can be created for free-flow zone electrophoresis. With this device, we demonstrated a separation of positive and negative peptides and proteins at a given pH in standard buffer systems and validated the sorting result with LC/MS. Furthermore, we coupled two sorting steps via off-chip titration and isolated peptides within specific pI ranges from sample mixtures, where the pi range was simply set by the pH values of the buffer solutions. This free-flow zone electrophoresis sorting device, with its simplicity of fabrication, and a sorting resolution of 0.5 pH unit, can potentially be a highthroughput sample fractionation tool for targeted proteomics using LC/MS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry