High Speed Size Sorting of Subcellular Organelles by Flow Field-Flow Fractionation

Joon Seon Yang, Ju Yong Lee, Myeong Hee Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Separation/isolation of subcellular species, such as mitochondria, lysosomes, peroxisomes, Golgi apparatus, and others, from cells is important for gaining an understanding of the cellular functions performed by specific organelles. This study introduces a high speed, semipreparative scale, biocompatible size sorting method for the isolation of subcellular organelle species from homogenate mixtures of HEK 293T cells using flow field-flow fractionation (FlFFF). Separation of organelles was achieved using asymmetrical FlFFF (AF4) channel system at the steric/hyperlayer mode in which nuclei, lysosomes, mitochondria, and peroxisomes were separated in a decreasing order of hydrodynamic diameter without complicated preprocessing steps. Fractions in which organelles were not clearly separated were reinjected to AF4 for a finer separation using the normal mode, in which smaller sized species can be well fractionated by an increasing order of diameter. The subcellular species contained in collected AF4 fractions were examined with scanning electron microscopy to evaluate their size and morphology, Western blot analysis using organelle specific markers was used for organelle confirmation, and proteomic analysis was performed with nanoflow liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (nLC-ESI-MS/MS). Since FlFFF operates with biocompatible buffer solutions, it offers great flexibility in handling subcellular components without relying on a high concentration sucrose solution for centrifugation or affinity- or fluorescence tag-based sorting methods. Consequently, the current study provides an alternative, competitive method for the isolation/purification of subcellular organelle species in their intact states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6342-6348
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 16

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


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