Purification by reflux electrophoresis of whey proteins and of a recombinant protein expressed in Dictyostelium discoideum

Garry L. Corthals, Brett M. Collins, Bridget C. Mabbutt, Keith L. Williams*, Andrew A. Gooley

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Protein purification that combines the use of molecular mass exclusion membranes with electrophoresis is particularly powerful as it uses properties inherent to both techniques. The use of membranes allows efficient processing and is easily scaled up, while electrophoresis permits high resolution separation under mild conditions. The Gradiflow apparatus combines these two technologies as it uses polyacrylamide membranes to influence electrokinetic separations. The reflux electrophoresis process consists of a series of cycles incorporating a forward phase and a reverse phase. The forward phase involves collection of a target protein that passes through a separation membrane before trailing proteins in the same solution. The forward phase is repeated following clearance of the membrane in the reverse phase by reversing the current. We have devised a strategy to establish optimal reflux separation parameters, where membranes are chosen for a particular operating range and protein transfer is monitored at different pH values. In addition, forward and reverse phase times are determined during this process. Two examples of the reflux method are described. In the first case, we describe the purification strategy for proteins from a complex mixture which contains proteins of higher electrophoretic mobility than the target protein. This is a two-step procedure, where first proteins of higher mobility than the target protein are removed from the solution by a series of reflux cycles, so that the target protein remains as the leading fraction. In the second step the target protein is collected, as it has become the leading fraction of the remaining proteins. In the second example we report the development of a reflux strategy which allowed a rapid one-step preparative purification of a recombinant protein, expressed in Dictyostelium discoideum. These strategies demonstrate that the Gradiflow is amenable to a wide range of applications, as the protein of interest is not necessarily required to be the leading fraction in solution.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)299-309
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Chromatography A
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 1997


    • Dictyostelium discoideum
    • proteins
    • recombinant proteins
    • reflux electrophoresis
    • whey proteins


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