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Gel Shift Assay (PDF)
The electrophoretic gel shift assay is used to detect sequence specific DNA-binding proteins present in nuclear extracts. For NFkB a HeLa nuclear extract is used. In the assay, a consensus oligonucleotide is end-labeled with isotopic phosphorus and detected using autoradiography. Other non-radioactive methods have also been employed including chemilumines-cence, fluorescence and enzymatic assays. A 'gel shift' of radiolabel is observed whenever the DNA binding protein forms a complex with radiolabled oligonucleotide resulting in the detectable label migrating at a higher apparent molecular weight. The 'gel super shift' assay refers to the additional increase in apparent molecular weight resulting from binding a specific antibody to the DNA binding protein prior to reaction with radioactive probe. Hence through the use of a specific antibody and a consensus oliqonucleotide the researcher can identify the presence of a specific DNA binding protein in any nuclear extract.
For best results let the gel polymerize for 1h then pre-run the gel for 1 h using a constant current of ~20 milliamps. Typically 2 liters of 1X TGE is used: 1.5 l in the bottom reservoir and 0.5 l in the top reservoir when using a commercially available apparatus. Do not exceed a final concentration of 100 mM sodium chloride in the reaction mixture. Concentrations above 100 mM inhibit the reaction. Do not exceed 2.5 ml of nuclear extract per reaction mixture. This is a good generalized method. Specific antibodies/probes may require altered conditions, for instance, NF-Y antibodies must be incubated for 1-2 h on ice before adding the probe. Prepare the reaction mixture in duplicate using unlabeled (cold) probe as a negative control or add cold probe and incubate 10 min at room temperature before adding labeled probe for competition experiments. Certain gel super shift antibodies are supplied with control peptides. Prepare these reaction mixtures in duplicate adding the control peptide to the reaction mixture prior to adding the antibody.
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