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Protein profiling of human postmortem brain using 2-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE)


Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-D GE) is a key tool for comparative proteomics research. With its ability to separate complex protein mixtures with high resolution, 2-D GE is a technique commonly employed for protein profiling studies. Significant improvements have been made in 2-D GE technology with the development of two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE), where proteins are first labelled with one of three spectrally resolvable fluorescent cyanine dyes before being separated over first and second dimensions according to their charge and size, respectively. When used in conjunction with automated analysis packages, this multiplexing approach can accurately and reproducibly quantify protein expression for control and experimental groups. Differentially expressed proteins can be subsequently identified by mass spectrometric methods. Here, we describe the successful application and optimisation of 2-D DIGE technology for human postmortem brain studies. This technology, especially when coupled with other functional genomics approaches, such as transcriptomics and metabolomics studies, will enhance our current understanding of human disease and lead to new therapeutic and diagnostic possibilities.

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This research was supported by the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) and the donations of the Stanley brain collection courtesy of Drs Michael B Knable, E Fuller Torrey, Maree J Webster, Serge Weis and Robert H. Yolken. The Department of Psychiatry gratefully acknowledges SMRI centre support. Thanks to all other members of the Bahn laboratory for intellectual and practical input. Sudhakaran Prabakaran is supported through a Nehru and Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholarship and Janie Swatton is a Community Fund/Alzheimer Research Trust fellow. Kathryn Lilley and Natasha Karp acknowledge support from the BBSRC Investigating Gene Function Initiative.

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Correspondence to K S Lilley or S Bahn.

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Swatton, J., Prabakaran, S., Karp, N. et al. Protein profiling of human postmortem brain using 2-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE). Mol Psychiatry 9, 128–143 (2004).

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  • 2-D DIGE
  • BVA
  • 2-D gel electrophoresis
  • postmortem tissue
  • human brain
  • proteomics

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