A thiol-ene microfluidic device enabling continuous enzymatic digestion and electrophoretic separation as front-end to mass spectrometric peptide analysis

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One of the most attractive aspects of microfluidic chips is their capability of integrating several functional units into one single platform. In particular, enzymatic digestion and chemical separation are important steps in processing samples for many biochemical assays. This study presents the development and application of a free-flow electrophoresis microfluidic chip, and its upstream combination with an enzyme microreactor with immobilized pepsin in the same miniaturized platform. The whole microfluidic chip was fabricated by making use of thiol-ene click chemistry. As a proof of concept, different fluorescent dyes and labeled amino acids were continuously separated in the 2D electrophoretic channel. The protease pepsin was immobilized using a covalent linkage with ascorbic acid onto a high-surface monolithic support, also made of thiol-ene. To show the potential of the microfluidic chip for continuous sample preparation and analysis, an oligopeptide was enzymatically digested, and the resulting fragments were separated and collected in a single step (prior to mass spectrometric detection), without the need of further time-consuming liquid handling steps.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Volume412
Issue number15
Pages (from-to)3559-3571
Number of pages13
ISSN0365-4877
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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