Purification of basolateral integral membrane proteins by cationic colloidal silica-based apical membrane subtraction

Methods Mol Biol. 2009;528:177-87. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-310-7_13.


Epithelial cell polarity mediates many essential biological functions and perturbation of the apical/basolateral divide is a hallmark of epithelial to mesenchymal transition in carcinoma. Therefore, correct targeting of proteins to the apical and basolateral surfaces is essential to proper epithelial cell function. However, proteomic characterisation of apical/basolateral sorting has been largely ignored, due to ineffectual separation techniques and contamination of plasma-membrane preparations with housekeeping proteins. Here we describe a method that strips the apical membrane from the adherent cells and releases the intracellular contents, thereby leaving the basolateral membrane available for stringent washes and collection. Analysis of the basolateral membrane of an adherent colon adenocarcinoma cell line resulted in 66% of identified proteins being integral membrane proteins, which possessed either a transmembrane domain or lipid modification, including 35 CD antigens. Based on the abundance of peptides from basolateral marker proteins, this method efficiently captures basolateral integral membrane proteins, with minimal contamination from other membranes and basic proteins.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cations / chemistry
  • Cell Fractionation / methods*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry*
  • Cell Polarity
  • Colloids / chemistry
  • Epithelial Cells / chemistry
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry


  • Cations
  • Colloids
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Silicon Dioxide