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Computer simulations of sample preconcentration in carrier‐free systems and isoelectric focusing in microchannels using simple ampholytes

Mikkonen, Saara, Thormann, Wolfgang, Emmer, Åsa
Electrophoresis 2015 v.36 no.19 pp. 2386-2395
amino acids, carbon dioxide, computer simulation, electric field, electrodes, fractionation, isoelectric focusing, peptides
In this work, electrophoretic preconcentration of protein and peptide samples in microchannels was studied theoretically using the 1D dynamic simulator GENTRANS, and experimentally combined with MS. In all configurations studied, the sample was uniformly distributed throughout the channel before power application, and driving electrodes were used as microchannel ends. In the first part, previously obtained experimental results from carrier‐free systems are compared to simulation results, and the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide and impurities in the sample solution are examined. Simulation provided insight into the dynamics of the transport of all components under the applied electric field and revealed the formation of a pure water zone in the channel center. In the second part, the use of an IEF procedure with simple well defined amphoteric carrier components, i.e. amino acids, for concentration and fractionation of peptides was investigated. By performing simulations a qualitative description of the analyte behavior in this system was obtained. Neurotensin and [Glu1]‐Fibrinopeptide B were separated by IEF in microchannels featuring a liquid lid for simple sample handling and placement of the driving electrodes. Component distributions in the channel were detected using MALDI‐ and nano‐ESI‐MS and data were in agreement with those obtained by simulation. Dynamic simulations are demonstrated to represent an effective tool to investigate the electrophoretic behavior of all components in the microchannel.