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400

SHORT

Method

for

COMMUNICATIONS

Drying

Following

Polyacrylamide

Gels

Electrophoresis

Numerous references to drying of starch gels are to be found in the


literature
(e.g., 1, 2). However, the only published methods that we are
aware of for drying polyacrylamide
gels involve much shrinkage in all
dimensions
(3)) or soaking in a complex formulation
(4). The present
method is convenient and avoids changes in length and width.
The dried gels (Fig. 1A) have useful properties. We have not been
able to detect any tendency for dyed band patterns to fade in a year
of st,orage time. For scanning radioactive
gels following electrophoresis
of radioactive material, it is very advantageous to have a gel in the dry
state. Excessive self-absorption
due to the greater mass of a wet gel is
thereby avoided. For the gel thickness
used in our electrophoresis
apparatus, it can be calculated that drying increases the counting sensitivity at least twenty times. Such increased sensitivity
also makes it
feasible to use gels for radioautography
(Fig. 1B).
In our work, a 5% polyacrylamide
gel (5) is used for the electrophoresis of protein from wheat (in some cases Ci-labeled
protein). The
gels are stained with amido black dye (4 gm amido black 1OB per 800 ml
7% acetic acid) ; the excess dye is washed out with 7% acetic acid. The
washed gels are dried by the following procedure.
(1) Soak gels about 15 min in an aqueous solution containing 0.02%
of a nonionic detergent and 0.3% glycerin.
(6) Briefly wash gels in water to take off excess detergent.
(3) Place gels on a Plexiglas strip and enclose the strip and the
gel in a piece of dialysis tubing. The easiest way to do this is to wet the
dialysis tubing, slide it over the Plexiglas, then slip the gel into position.
(4) Work out all bubbles.
(5) Place assembly in a drying box (about 70C) overnight.
(6) Remove the gel from Plexiglas by placing assembly, gel side
down, on a flat surface and then cut dialysis tubing on one side (Fig. 2).
The dialysis tubing remains embedded in one side of the gel, but the
1 Information
paper,
Washington
Agricultural
Experiment
Stations,
Pullman.
Project
1612. The work
was done under
contract
with
the U. S. Department
of
Agriculture
and authorized
by the Research
and Marketing
Act of 1946. Contract
12-14-lOO-5750(74)
was supervised
by the Western
Utilization
Research
and Development
Division,
Agricultural
Research
Service,
Albany,
California.
aReference
to a company
and/or
product
name
is only
for purposes
of information
and does not imply
approval
or recommendation
of the product
to the
exclusion
of others
which
may also be suitable.

SHORT

COMMUNICATIONS

401

402

SHORT

FIG.

2.

COIMMUKICATIOSS

Dried gel removed from Plexiglas

strip

other side is exposed for expression of radioactivity,


and the strip is
transparent. The dried gels may be conveniently stored in cellophane
stamp-mountings
(Crystal Mounts?).
Dried gels may be obtained by this technique with either glycerin or
detergent omitted from the soaking solution, but irregularities
apparently due to the presence of tiny air bubbles are more likely. It should
be noted that the size of dialysis tubing with respect to the width of the
Plexiglas strip is critical if the linear dimensions of the gel are to be
maintained unchanged while drying and the gel not curl up during storage. We dry 12 X 3J4X i/8 in. (305 X 19 X 3 mm) gels on Plexiglas strips
39 X 1.5 X 318 mm using dialysis tubing of 1% in. flat width, and gels
12 X l/z X l/s in. (305 X 38 X 3 mm) on Plexiglas strips 56 X 1.5
X 318 mm using dialysis tubing of 2% in. flat width.
REFERENCES
1. DANGERFIELD,
W. G., AND FAULKNER,
G., Nature
200, 388 (1963).
2. BAUR, E. W., J. Lab. Clin. Med. 61, 166 (1963).
3. RAYMOND,
S., AND WEINTRAUB,
L., Science 130, 711 (1959).
4. HERMANS,
P. E., MCGUCKIN,
W. F., MCKENZIE,
B. F., AND BAYRD, E. D., Proc.
Chem.
Abstr.
55, 7514 (1961).
stuff Meetings Mayo Clinic 35, 792 (1960);
5. RAYMOND,
S., AND
WANG, YI-Ju,
Anal. Biochem.
1, 391 (1960).

E.

HEDWIG
JOHN
of Agricultural
Washington
State
Uniuelait!l
Pullman,
Washington
Received
March 4. 1965
Department

Chemistry

M.

HERRICK

LAWRENCE