Automation Accelerates Screening of Protein-Protein Interactions

12 Mar 2009
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The Protein Interaction Screening Unit at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, has been using Tecan instruments to automate its co-immune precipitation (CIP) method for investigating protein-protein interactions (PPIs), increasing throughput up to 100-fold compared to manual methods and greatly accelerating PPI screening.

Dr Manfred Koegl from DKFZ explained: “Co-immune precipitation is a more physiological technique to test PPIs than yeast two-hybrid methods, but it has the disadvantage of a much lower throughput. To bring this method up to a competitive speed, we needed to automate the critical steps.” The team at DKFZ is using Tecan’s HydroFlex™ washer and Infinite® 200 microplate reader, complete with a Connect™ stacker option, to automate processing of up to 50 plates without manual intervention.

Dr Koegl described the method developed by his team: “A microplate containing a suspension of magnetic beads and proteins of interest in each well is washed in the HydroFlex (equipped with a smart-MBS option for processing magnetic beads), then transferred using the Connect stacker to the Infinite reader for the luminescence measurements. The washing step is critical to detecting PPIs and the HydroFlex washes the magnetic bead suspension very quickly and thoroughly, eliminating false positives without loss of beads. Using the manual co-immune precipitation protocol we typically tested 12 PPIs per day; with our current set-up we can test between 200 and 400 PPIs in one experiment, but I expect that further automation will increase the throughput to 1000 PPIs per day.”

For more information on Tecan´s HydroFlex as well as the corresponding application note, follow the company article webpage link on the right hand side of the screen.

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