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The Western Blot


JoVE Science Education Database. Basic Methods in Cellular and Molecular Biology. The Western Blot. Journal of Visualized Experiments, Cambridge, MA, doi: 10.3791/5065 (2014).

Western Blotting is a powerful technique utilized by many researchers to identify the presence of specific proteins in an electrophoretically-separated sample using antibodies.

Western Blotting is used to identify the presence of specific proteins in electrophoretically separated samples. Following separation by a technique known as sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, or SDS-PAGE, western transfer is used to move proteins from a polyacrylamide gel onto a piece of membrane which traps the proteins in their respective locations. Next, the membranes are probed with antibodies in a process called immunboblotting. Immunoblotting uses antibody-protein and antibody-antibody binding through specific recognition sites, providing the high specificity required for identifying a single protein. The detection of antibodies takes place using reporter systems which includes the use of enzymes. Enzymes can be attached to the end of an antibody and react with substrates to produce changes in color or light. These signals can then be imaged and quantified using a process called densitometry.

This video-article presents an overview of the western blot technique by describing western transfer, the use of antibody detection, and image analysis. The steps involved with western transfer such as the assembly of the transfer sandwich and transfer conditions are discussed in detail as well as the theory behind antibody binding and detection of those antibodies. The broad applications of this technique are described through several examples including the detection of protein-protein interactions and identification of individual proteins within protein complexes.

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