Serum proteins are extracted along with monolayer cells in plasticware and interfere with protein analysis
Hong X, Meng Y, and Kalkanis SN. Serum proteins are extracted along with monolayer cells in plasticware and interfere with protein analysis. J Biol Methods 2016; 3(4):e51.
J Biol Methods
Washing and lysing monolayer cells directly from cell culture plasticware is a commonly used method for protein extraction. We found that multiple protein bands were enriched in samples with low cell numbers from the 6-well plate cultures. These proteins contributed to the overestimation of cell proteins and led to the uneven protein loading in Western blotting analysis. In Coomassie blue stained SDS-PAGE gels, the main enriched protein band is about 69 kDa and it makes up 13.6% of total protein from 104 U251n cells. Analyzed by mass spectrometry, we identified two of the enriched proteins: bovine serum albumin and bovine serum transferrin. We further observed that serum proteins could be extracted from other cell culture plates, dishes and flasks even after washing the cells 3 times with PBS. A total of 2.3 mg of protein was collected from a single well of the 6-well plate. A trace amount of the protein band was still visible after washing the cells 5 times with PBS. Thus, serum proteins should be considered if extracting proteins from plasticware, especially for samples with low cell numbers.