Detergents are used in IEF to disrupt hydrophobic interactions and increase solubility of proteins at their pI. Detergents must be nonionic or zwitterionic to allow proteins to migrate according to their own charges. Some proteins, especially membrane proteins, require detergents for solubilization during isolation and to maintain solubility during focusing. Nonionic detergents such as octylglucoside and zwitterionic detergents such as CHAPS and its hydroxyl analog CHAPSO can be used for IEF applications.
Ionic detergents such as SDS are not compatible with IEF but can be used with concentrated samples in situations where the SDS can be unbound from the protein by IEF-compatible detergents that compete for binding sites.
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