SSP @ Purdue Day 8 – Protein Purification Day

Creator: Georgia A.

Hi y’all! We started off our Monday with the pleasant surprise of seeing our “mugshots” from day one displayed on a big poster board. 

I think this explains itself. Then we began our lab for the day: purifying proteins. We got some ice to keep our samples chilled and set out to pipette and mix up stinky protein solutions– E. Coli has made the lab smell awful ever since we started our cultures. 

The cell debris kept precipitating, which gave our solutions a really unique texture. We poured our cell solutions into centrifuge tubes so that we could spin our samples. The goal was to get all of the unwanted cell parts to form a pellet in the bottom of the tube and leave our desired protein suspended in the supernatant.

More bad smells. 

Once we had our protein solution prepared, we started up the Akta system to really start the purification process. We used nickel affinity chromatography, meaning that the histidines on our target protein bound to nickel atoms in the Akta chamber, letting all the unwanted molecules run out and keeping our proteins stuck. Then, we sent an imidazole solution through the chamber and our purified protein solution was distributed into little microfuge tubes.

After lots of hard work, we took a lunch break at Zen, a poke restaurant in Union. It’s really good, and they have boba!!

After lunch we headed back to the lab because we missed our proteins (after you spend >7 hours in the lab, you form an attachment). In our eagerness, we may have spilled some ice.

We finally got to the final run of the Akta machine to push our proteins through. You can trust that it was really interesting.

Just kidding. We did start a hair salon while we waited, though.

After this my phone died. But we finished up in the lab, prepared some dialysis tubing for our proteins, and cleaned up (always the most important step). Day 9 was yet another fun and fulfilling day at SSP!