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A two-stage spin cartridge for integrated protein precipitation, digestion and SDS removal in a comparative bottom-up proteomics workflow

by Andrew M.J. Crowell, Dawn L. MacLellan, & Alan A. Doucette

Protein precipitation with organic solvent is an effective means of depleting contaminants such as sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), while maintaining high analyte recovery. Here, we report the use of a disposable two-stage spin cartridge to facilitate isolation of the precipitated protein, with subsequent enzyme digestion and peptide cleanup in the cartridge. An upper filtration cartridge retains over 95% of the protein (10 μg BSA), with 99.75% detergent depleted from a sample initially containing 2% SDS. Following precipitation, a plug attached to the base of the filtration cartridge retains the solution to enable tryptic digestion in the vial, while a solid phase extraction cartridge attached to the base of the filter facilitates peptide cleanup post-digestion. A GELFrEE fractionated Escherichia coli proteome extract processed with the spin cartridge yields similar protein identifications compared to controls (226 vs 216 for control), and with an increased number of unique peptides (1753 vs 1554 for control). The device is applied to proteome characterization of rat kidneys experiencing a surgically induced ureteral tract obstruction, revealing several statistically altered proteins, consistent with the morphology and expected pathophysiology of the disease.