Reference points for comparisons of two-dimensional maps of proteins from different human cell types defined in a pH scale where isoelectric points correlate with polypeptide compositions

Electrophoresis. 1994 Mar-Apr;15(3-4):529-39. doi: 10.1002/elps.1150150171.


A highly reproducible, commercial and nonlinear, wide-range immobilized pH gradient (IPG) was used to generate two-dimensional (2-D) gel maps of [35S]methionine-labeled proteins from noncultured, unfractionated normal human epidermal keratinocytes. Forty one proteins, common to most human cell types and recorded in the human keratinocyte 2-D gel protein database were identified in the 2-D gel maps and their isoelectric points (pI) were determined using narrow-range IPGs. The latter established a pH scale that allowed comparisons between 2-D gel maps generated either with other IPGs in the first dimension or with different human protein samples. Of the 41 proteins identified, a subset of 18 was defined as suitable to evaluate the correlation between calculated and experimental pI values for polypeptides with known composition. The variance calculated for the discrepancies between calculated and experimental pI values for these proteins was 0.001 pH units. Comparison of the values by the t-test for dependent samples (paired test) gave a p-level of 0.49, indicating that there is no significant difference between the calculated and experimental pI values. The precision of the calculated values depended on the buffer capacity of the proteins, and on average, it improved with increased buffer capacity. As shown here, the widely available information on protein sequences cannot, a priori, be assumed to be sufficient for calculating pI values because post-translational modifications, in particular N-terminal blockage, pose a major problem. Of the 36 proteins analyzed in this study, 18-20 were found to be N-terminally blocked and of these only 6 were indicated as such in databases. The probability of N-terminal blockage depended on the nature of the N-terminal group. Twenty six of the proteins had either M, S or A as N-terminal amino acids and of these 17-19 were blocked. Only 1 in 10 proteins containing other N-terminal groups were blocked.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Autoradiography / methods
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Isoelectric Focusing / methods*
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nuclear Proteins / chemistry
  • Nuclear Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Nucleophosmin
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Phosphoproteins / chemistry
  • Phosphoproteins / isolation & purification
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Reference Values
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes


  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Proteins
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • Nucleophosmin
  • Methionine