General Guidelines for Handling Protein Gels

A primary goal of working with gels intended for downstream LC-MS/MS analysis is to avoid contamination with foreign proteins. These proteins are typically human keratins derived from human skin or animal keratins from the clothes we wear. These proteins can be transferred to the gel or items which contact the gel (plates, buffers, stains, tools, etc.) via direct contact or by being exposed to the air, as dust in the air is composed of human skin cells. While gels are not dangerous to work with, it is beneficial to approach working with them as you would if you were working with materials which had to be kept sterile or were radioactive, that is, approach them with a mind-set aimed at minimizing contact and contamination.

Running Gels

Staining Gels

Excising spots or bands