Silver staining of proteins in polyacrylamide gels

Nat Protoc. 2006;1(4):1852-8. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2006.288.


Silver staining is used to detect proteins after electrophoretic separation on polyacrylamide gels. It combines excellent sensitivity (in the low nanogram range) with the use of very simple and cheap equipment and chemicals. It is compatible with downstream processing, such as mass spectrometry analysis after protein digestion. The sequential phases of silver staining are protein fixation, then sensitization, then silver impregnation and finally image development. Several variants of silver staining are described here, which can be completed in a time range from 2 h to 1 d after the end of the electrophoretic separation. Once completed, the stain is stable for several weeks.

MeSH terms

  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Silver Staining / methods*
  • Temperature