Protein Visualization study update

Molly Scott m.scott at
Thu Nov 8 12:04:10 EST 2001

The Science Advisory Board’s ongoing study, “Protein Visualization” is
providing a number of interesting insights into the most current areas of
investigation in protein and proteomic research. It is the fourth in an
eight-part series of studies entitled, “The Tools & Techniques of Protein
Science Catalyzing the Future of Proteomics.” Almost 250 scientists engaged
in protein research have already participated in this study now being
conducted at the Science Advisory Board’s Website,

Interim study results indicate that respondents predominantly use a scanning
densitometer to image one-dimensional polyacrylamide gels (PAGE), while they
use charge-coupled device cameras to image one-dimensional agarose gels.
There is also a difference in the location of these two pieces of equipment:
scanning densitometers are typically located in an area shared by other labs
on-site, and charge-coupled device cameras are frequently found in a core
facility.  However, the number one factor that would influence a
respondent’s lab to purchase either of these imaging systems over the other
is the quality of its image resolution.

One-dimensional PAGE is by far the most popular technique for performing
qualitative evaluations, quantitative measurements and obtaining
publication-quality figures.  The second most popular technique used for
these imaging applications is one-dimensional agarose gels.  Interesting,
two-dimensional gel electrophoresis is one of the least used techniques for
imaging proteins.

Colorimetric stains appear to be the top choice among respondents performing
protein analysis/characterization, identification and purification
procedures. For researchers hoping to analyze or characterize proteins,
radioactively labeling them is the next popular technique.  Fluorescent
staining is the second choice for researchers trying to identify proteins. 
Though respondents specify that they use different types of stains and
labels depending upon the procedure they perform, the primary reason they
select one particular stain or label is its ability to detect low quantities
of proteins.

The Science Advisory Board is an online panel of more than 5,600 scientists,
physicians and other life science and medical professionals from 62
countries.  By convening electronically, Science Advisory Board members
participate in online studies to voice their opinions on issues that
directly affect the evolution and development of the tools and techniques of
their professions.

If you are interested in contributing your own opinions on the tools and
techniques of protein science or participating in other studies that may be
of interest to you, please register for our Research Panel at, or contact Molly Scott, Membership Coordinator, for
The Science Advisory Board at m.scott at for membership
information and study details. Your identity and personal information will
be held in the strictest confidence, and you will receive compensation for
any studies in which you choose to participate.


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