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Dear fellow biochemists,

I need some advice on Western Blotting, more specifically the use of certain protease inhibitors with the RIPA cell lysis buffer and protease inhibitor cocktail. A Millipore technical representative recommended my using "539134 | Protease Inhibitor Cocktail Set III, EDTA-Free - Calbiochem" as a good general protease inhibitor cocktail.

I have another protease inhibitor cocktail which includes: AEBSF, bestatin, E-64, and pepstatin A (E.coli protease inhibitor cocktail) but it does not include the aprotinin or the leupeptin inhibitors. Is there a risk of proteolysis in a mammalian cell lysate without these latter 2 inhibitors? The specific cell types which we are using are: HUVEC (human umbilical vein endothelial cells) and HT-29 adenocarcinoma cell line.

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In general, leupeptin (a cysteine, threonin and serine protease) and aprotinin (sometimes called Trasylol; trypsin inhibitor) are included in most mammalian cell lysate buffers. Whether you need them is really up to your protein of interest: if you know how it gets degraded in vitro, then you should be fine with inhibition of just those proteases. If instead you want to preserve as much protein as possible, then you should add them. Should you not use them, then yes, those proteases will degrade some of the cell proteins.

The good news is that you can buy aprotinin and leupeptin individually and supplement them to the necessary concentrations for a working lysis buffer.

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