Protein degradation analysis by affinity microfluidics

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Protein degradation mediated by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway regulates signaling events in all eukaryotic cells, with implications in pathological conditions such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Detection of protein degradation is an elementary need in basic and translational research. In vitro degradation assays, in particular, have been instrumental in the understanding of how cell proliferation and other fundamental cellular processes are regulated. These assays are direct, quantitative and highly informative but also laborious, typically relying on low-throughput polyacrylamide gel-electrophoresis followed by autoradiography or immunoblotting. We present protein degradation on chip (pDOC), a MITOMI-based integrated microfluidic device for discovery and analysis of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. The platform accommodates microchambers on which protein degradation is assayed quickly and simultaneously in physiologically relevant environments, using minute amount of reagents. Essentially, pDOC provides a multiplexed, sensitive and colorimetric alternative to the conventional degradation assays, with relevance to biomedical and translational research.

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