Detection of low-molecular-weight polypeptides on nitrocellulose with monoclonal antibodies

Lawrence C. Rosenbaum, Gajanan Nilaver, Heidi M. Hagman, Edward A. Neuwelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An immunoblotting method to detect low-molecular-weight peptides with monoclonal antibodies that normally fail to demonstrate immunoreactivity using conventional blotting techniques is described. Detection of neurophysin, insulin, calcitonin, vasopressin, and β-endorphin electroblotted on nitrocellulose membranes was optimized after introducing four modifications into the conventional procedure. These include renaturing the gels after sodium dodecyl sulfate electrophoresis, electroblotting the renatured gels in basic transfer buffer, fixing and/or heating the blots, and using avidin/alkaline phosphatase conjugates for antigen/antibody detection. This technique likely enables the denatured peptides to regain their native conformation and, therefore, restores antigenicity and recognition by highly structural specific monoclonal antibodies. Although the most dramatic improvement with this technique is with monoclonal antibodies, a modest improvement in sensitivity can be obtained when immunoblots are probed with polyclonal antibodies. The high resolution of this system will be useful in probing blots of partial proteolytic digests of proteins with both monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-257
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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