Fast and high resolution analysis of human serum transferrin by high performance isoelectric focusing in capillaries

Ferenc Kilár, Stellan Hjertén

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Human serum transferrin is a mixture of isoforms (isoproteins) having different amounts of carbohydrates. Each isoform may exist in iron‐free and iron‐complexed molecular form. The genetic variations in different populations increase the number of combinations of the different forms of transferrin. To resolve the many components in transferrin preparations, the new high performance capillary technique was employed for isoelectric focusing. Iron‐free transferrin and transferrin samples of known iron content were examined. The above method gives an exceptionally rapid analysis (within 15–25 min) of small amounts of samples (less than 1 μg protein) and as good as or better resolution than other isoelectric focusing techniques previously used for transferrin analysis. By monitoring the focused protein zones at both 280 and 460 nm the molecular forms of transferrin (iron‐free, monoferric and differic complexes) can easily be identified. Both steps of isoelectric focusing in capillaries (i. e., prefocusing and mobilization) can be used for analysis. We observed that chelating agents (e. g., carrier ampholytes, nitrilotriacetate) may release iron from micro‐syringes having metal pistons causing the formation of iron‐transferrin complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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