The third possible cause of weak signals is the blot membrane placement for imaging on the detection systems, since systems may vary as to how the blot should be placed on the scanning surface. Why is this important? Well, if the blot is placed incorrectly, you may or may not be able to visualize bands. If bands are visualized, they will be substantially reduced in signal.
As an example, LI-COR has two imaging systems for chemiluminescent Western blots: the Odyssey® Fc Dual-Mode Imaging System and the C-DiGit® Blot Scanner. Blot membrane placement depends on which one you use.
However, for the C-DiGit Blot Scanner, the membrane needs to be placed on the scanning surface FACE DOWN. (For a quick video demonstrating this, watch “How to Place Your Blot on the C-DiGit Blot Scanner“.) Below is an experiment we did to look at the performance differences between imaging the blot correctly (protein side down) and imaging the blot protein side up on the C-DiGit Scanner. (Images are normalized to the Lookup Table (LUT) of the correctly imaged blot.)
Once you have imported your Western blot image and have adjusted it to be just how you like it, you can now add shapes and begin analysis in Image Studio Lite. Luke Miller (of ImageJ tutorial fame) also wrote some really informative, helpful instructions on how to use Image Studio Lite.
In this series of posts, you will discover how easy it is to use Image Studio™ Lite. This free Western blot analysis software from LI-COR® allows you to easily create your own work area and then import images from numerous sources. So, if you have an old film scan, or an image from another chemiluminescent Western blot imaging system, try using this free Western blot analysis software. In subsequent posts, we will talk about the other functionalities of Image Studio Lite.
This second video walks through the steps needed to import an image into Image Studio Lite. Image Studio Lite analyzes images in the tif, png, or jpeg format as well as images acquired with past versions of the Odyssey® or Pearl® imaging systems software.
Multiplex Westerns can be imaged on any of the Odyssey® Imagers and provide results for a possible maximum of 48 targets on a single membrane — 24 per channel with two-color detection — and the option for quantitative analysis, saving you time and reagents! The MPX Blotting System can be used if you need to optimize:
Primary antibodies – to determine the primary antibody that has the right specificity and the right dilution for use
Antibody incubation times
Blocking conditions – which blocking buffer will give you the optimum results
Secondary antibodies – what dilutions is best to use without getting a lot of non-specific binding?
WesternSure chemiluminescent Western blotting reagents offer the best performance available when compared to other competitive products on the market. WesternSure PREMIUM Chemiluminescent Substrate is a highly sensitive enhanced substrate for detecting horseradish peroxidase (HRP) on immunoblots.
WesternSure HRP-conjugated secondary antibodies (Goat anti-Mouse and Goat anti-Rabbit) are compatible with a variety of chemiluminescent substrates and are optimized for use with WesternSure PREMIUM chemiluminescent substrates.
Are you doing chemiluminescent Western blots? Have you ever found yourself with a blot that is ready to image, but the darkroom is busy or the developer is broken?
FINALLY, image at your convenience. Keep your C-DiGit Blot Scanner on your lab bench, at your desk, or anywhere you choose (look left and see just how small and portable the C-DiGit Western Blot Scanner really is!). It can truly be YOUR personal chemiluminescent Western imager!
The C-DiGit Chemiluminescent Western Blot Scanner maintains the simplicity of film exposures without the mess of the darkroom. You perform all of the same steps, without buying film and spending time in the darkroom. The C-DiGit Scanner gives you a complete digital replacement for film – keeping the advantages of film and eliminating many of the drawbacks – saving you time AND money!
Watch this short video and then visit our website to get your very own C-DiGit Blot Scanner!
Our IRDye secondary antibody line is growing! We have recently added IRDye Goat anti-Mouse IgM (μ chain specific) secondaries labeled with:
IRDye 800CW (PN 926-32280)
IRDye 680RD (PN 926-68180) or
IRDye 680LT (PN 926-68080).
Just like all of the LI-COR IRDye secondary antibodies, these are highly cross-adsorbed secondary antibody conjugates suitable for a variety of applications (see the table below).
IRDye 800CW secondary antibodies are the antibodies of choice for a wide variety of applications in the 800 nm channel (see the list below). IRDye 800CW secondary antibodies can be used for 2-color detection when multiplexed with IRDye 680RD or IRDye 680LT secondary antibodies.
IRDye 680RD secondary antibodies are the antibodies of choice for In-Cell Western Assay and Western blot applications in the 700 nm channel. These antibodies can be used for 2-color detection when multiplexed with IRDye 800CW secondary antibodies. These antibodies are our most universal use 700 nm channel antibodies. Start using IRDye 680RD first over other 700 nm dyes. Dilution working range 1:10,000 – 1:40,000.
IRDye 680LT secondary antibodies have been proven the brightest signal for Western blot detection in the 700 nm channel and are comparable to Alexa Fluor 680 secondary antibodies. Choose IRDye 680LT secondary antibodies to get high signal and for specific uses of detection in the 700nm channel. These antibodies are not recommended when getting up and running on system. Once established near-infrared protocols are optimized with IRDye 680RD, IRDye 680LT can be used to optimize signals in the 700 channel. Dilution range 1:20,000 – 1:40,000. Note: optimization may be required with IRDye 680LT.
So, you may ask, what’s so great about NewBlot Stripping Buffer?
Effectively removes antibodies, yet gentle enough to retain immobilized proteins
Strips blots at room temperature in 20 minutes or less without an unpleasant odor
Allows you to reuse the same blot up to 3X! (see the data below!)
Offers qualitative analysis after stripping
In the example below, beta tubulin and ERK2 were run on a gel and transferred to Immobilon®-FL PVDF membrane. They were probed with primary antibodies rabbit anti-beta-tubulin and mouse anti-ERK2 and then with IRDye 680 Goat anti-Rabbit (red) and IRDye 800CW Goat anti-Mouse (green), respectively. NewBlot PVDF Stripping Buffer was used to strip the blot, which was then reprobed with the fluorescent secondary antibodies. This was repeated 2 more times. As you can see from the series of images, there is very little apparent loss of signal in either channel in the third blot as compared to the original blot.
Note: On August 25, 2014, we launched two new Western blot stripping buffers: NewBlot™ IR Stripping Buffer for infrared Western blots on either PVDF OR nitrocellulose membranes; and, WesternSure® ECL Stripping Buffer for chemiluminescent Western blot stripping and reprobing. BOTH do not require hazardous shipping charges, unlike many other Western stripping buffers.
Western blots can be detected with fluorescent, chemiluminescent, or colorimetric methods. Which Western blot detection method should you choose? Find out how the three common Western blot detection methods compare to each other in terms of time, sensitivity, and other important factors. The, choose what works best for your research.
Fluorescent detection: Fluorescent detection uses secondary antibodies labeled with fluorescent dyes, rather than enzymes. No substrates are needed.
Enzymatic detection: Chemiluminescent and colorimetric methods use secondary antibodies labeled with enzyme reporters such as horseradish peroxidase (HRP). Signal-generating substrates are used.
Fluorescent detection uses NIR fluorescent dyes to generate a signal.
• Secondary antibodies are labeled with dyes such as IRDye 800CW or IRDye 680RD
• Digital imaging reveals target protein signals with high sensitivity
• Quantitative (signal is proportional to the amount of target protein present)
• Stable fluorescent signals are stable
• Multiplex detection of multiple protein targets without stripping and re-probing Chemiluminescent detection uses the horseradish peroxidase (HRP) enzyme and a luminescent substrate.
• Enzymatic reaction produces light that is detected by film exposure, or digital imaging with CCD camera
• Multiple exposures typically required to capture optimal signals and avoid signal saturation
• Very sensitive
• Cannot be multiplexed
• May not be quantitative
Colorimetric detection uses the alkaline phosphatase enzyme.
• Enzyme converts a soluble chromogenic substrate to a colored, insoluble product that precipitates onto the membrane and produces colored bands
• Development of the blot is stopped by washing away the soluble substrate
• Simple and cost-effective
• Limited sensitivity
Comparison of Chemiluminescence and Infrared Fluorescence Detection for Western Blotting
Mendonsa, G., et al. PLoS ONE4(2): e4655. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004655
Aberrant signal transduction is associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In skin fibroblasts of AD patients, exaggerated signal transduction occurs in response to bradykinin (BK), an inflammatory neuropeptide. BK-induced PKC signaling causes stimulation of tau phosphorylation on serine residues in AD fibroblasts, but not in normal skin fibroblasts. Quantitative Western blotting with multiplex fluorescent detection (Odyssey Imager; LI-COR Biosciences) was used to monitor protein levels and phosphorylation.
To explore the roles of inflammatory and oxidative stress in AD pathology, this study profiled the effects of these stresses on MAPK signaling cascades in human skin fibroblasts of familial AD patients. AD fibroblasts of different genetic origins express presenilin (PS-1 or PS-2) mutated at a variety of sites. These mutations caused diverse responses to stress induced by BK or H2O2, with unique profiles of stress-induced MAPK activation, caspase-3 cleavage, and survival pathway activation. These results indicate that AD research must consider a broad spectrum of inflammatory, oxidative, and other stress factors and intracellular signaling responses.
Figure 1. Reduced ERK activation in PS-1 (M146L) Alzheimer’s disease fibroblasts stimulated with bradykinin (BK). These fibroblasts carry a mutation in presenilin-1 associated with aberrant signaling. Mutant and control human skin fibroblasts were treated with 250 nM BK and immunoblotted for active and total ERK. Odyssey Imager was used, and fold activation was quantified. Total ERK is shown in green, and phospho-ERK in red; overlapping signals (active ERK) are shown in yellow. ERK activation was greatly reduced in PS-1 (M146L) AD fibroblasts. Graphs show mean + S.E. *p < 0.05 and **p < 0.005; n = 4. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004655