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Chemistry 422 BIOCHEMISTRY LABORATORY MANUAL Mark Brandt, Ph.D. Third edition January, 2002Table of Contents Introduction................................................................................................. 4 Keeping a Laboratory Notebook............................................................. 6 Laboratory Reports................................................................................... 8 Experiment 1: Introduction to Techniques.................................. 17 Use of pipetmen................................................................................. 17 Spectroscopy and dilutions.............................................................. 20 Analysis of experiment 1 results.................................................... 25 Experiment 2: Protein Purification................................................. 26 Purification of LDH........................................................................... 33 Purification of LDH (continued)..................................................... 37 LDH Enzyme assays....................................................................... 41 Protein assays................................................................................... 44 Calculation hints: Purification table.............................................. 46 Experiment 3: Characterization of LDH........................................ 48 SDS PAGE.......................................................................................... 48 Western blotting................................................................................ 57 Western blotting (continued)........................................................... 62 Gel filtration chromatography........................................................ 66 Gel filtration chromatography (continued)................................... 71 Protein crystallography................................................................... 73 Experiment 4: Enzyme Kinetics........................................................ 77 K determination.............................................................................. 87 m Lactate K determination (continued)......................................... 90 m Pyruvate K determination........................................................... 92 m Inhibition kinetics.............................................................................. 94 Inhibitor type determination........................................................... 100 Chemical modification of LDH........................................................ 102 2Table of Contents (continued) Experiment 5: Cloning of LDH........................................................... 104 PCR and plasmid preparation........................................................ 107 Agarose gels and restriction digests.............................................. 114 Ligation and transformation........................................................... 118 Selection and screening.................................................................... 122 Screening and sequencing................................................................ 125 Activity measurements................................................................... 130 Definitions................................................................................................. 131 Other useful Information: Biochemistry Stockroom: MH-277 Chemistry & Biochemistry Office: MH-580 3Introduction to the Laboratory This course is intended to introduce you to some of the most widely used experimental procedures in biochemistry, including protein purification and characterization, enzyme assays and kinetics, and DNA isolation and manipulation. You will also gain some familiarity with some of the types of equipment frequently used in biochemistry. Research is often a collaborative effort in which many people may contribute to different aspects of a given project. Few papers in the biochemical literature are written by single authors; the vast majority of papers have at least two authors, and many papers have more than ten contributing people. In part to provide a more authentic experience of actual lab work, experiments will be done in groups of two or three. You may choose partners, or you can ask to be assigned to a group. Prior to each lab period, you will need to spend some time reading the Laboratory Manual. This reading will provide background information and an outline of the procedures to be performed. If you do not do this, you will find yourself wasting large amounts of class time, and annoying both your lab partners and your instructor. You will also find it difficult to answer the prelab questions that must be turned in each day. The biochemistry laboratory course, like all laboratory courses, is an exploration of procedures. This means that, in order to get full benefit from the course, you will need to read the manual, and you should participate as much as possible in the discussions. You should ask questions in or out of class. You should also try to participate in the actual lab work (and not simply allow your lab partners to do things for you). The more effort you put into the course work, the more you will learn. The class is an opportunity to learn valuable skills; take full advantage of it SAFETY: Laboratories contain hazards of various kinds. Everyone is required to wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, goggles with side shields, and a lab coat while performing laboratory work. Students should not work in the laboratory if the instructor is not present. Some of the chemicals used are toxic, mutagenic, or teratogenic. If you believe that you have a health condition that puts you at exceptional risk, or believe yourself to be pregnant, please see your instructor in private to discuss the issue. If you have questions or concerns about exposure to hazardous chemicals, please consult your instructor or go to the Research and Instructional Safety Office (MH-557). PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES: Scientific research involves an exploration of the unknown. In some classes, a question has a single “correct” answer, which is known to the instructor, and imparted to the students. In research, however, the correct answer is rarely known ahead of time, and must instead be inferred from the experimental results. Researchers must therefore become accustomed to some level of uncertainty about the “correct” answer to any experimental question, and must always remain open to experimental evidence that contradicts a hypothesis that has 4arisen from previous experiments. Your task as a scientist will be to consider your data, and to attempt to interpret it. In this context, “wrong” answers are answers that are contradicted by your data or that do not arise logically from the data you have collected. This uncertainty as to the “correct” answer means that you must be careful when reporting what you did and what you observed, especially if you observe something unexpected. Humans are good at fooling themselves; you need to guard against reporting what you expect to see rather than what you actually did see. Scientific fraud, in which people intentionally report false data, is considered very serious because it results in a difficult-to-overcome belief in an answer that conflicts with the truth. You will occasionally see retractions, in which a scientist publishes a statement that information in a previously published paper is the result of an artifact, and is not a reflection of the “correct” answer. Avoiding the embarrassment of publishing a retraction is one reason for the care that people take in performing experiments and in interpreting the results. Another ethical issue is the proper citation of the sources of information you use for any scientific writing. You should always properly reference the authors of papers or books you consult. It also means that you should cite the inventors of methods that you use for your experiments. If you do not, you are, in effect, claiming credit for work performed by others. 5General Information: Keeping a Laboratory Notebook All students will be required to maintain a laboratory notebook. The notebook will be used for the recording of laboratory data and calculations, and will be critically important for writing your lab reports. The purpose of a laboratory notebook is to allow anyone with some biochemical knowledge to understand exactly what you did. You need to record the information in sufficient detail so as to be able to repeat it, and you must be able to understand exactly what your results were. You will need good notes to be able to write your lab reports; in addition, as your understanding of biochemistry improves, your notebook may allow you to figure out why some parts of your experiments did not work as expected. Companies that perform research require their employees to keep proper notebooks. In these companies, company policy dictates that any work not recorded in the notebook was never actually performed. As a result, the work must be repeated, which tends to have deleterious effects on the career opportunities of the employees involved. In cases of disputes as to priority, notebook dates are sometimes used to indicate exactly when an experiment was performed. Ownership of patents (and in some cases large amounts of money) can therefore be critically dependent on keeping a proper notebook. Instruction in keeping laboratory notebooks is therefore a major part of most laboratory courses. In your notebook, each experiment should begin with a title, a date, and a statement of the objective of the planned work. You should also record exactly what you did at each step (being sure to mention anything that you did that differed from the information in the Manual). In addition, you should record any numerical information, such as the weights of reagents used, absorbance readings, enzyme activities, protein concentrations, and buffer concentrations. Most experiments will extend over several days, and over several pages in your notebook. To allow you to keep track of what you have done, you should include the day’s date at the top of each page. Including sub-titles for each page may make it easier to keep track of what you did at each step. Everything you do should be recorded directly into your lab notebook in pen. If you make a mistake, draw a line through it, and write the correction next to the mistake. (It may turn out that the original information was correct after all, so do not obliterate the original information by erasing it, or by removing the page from your notebook.) Any calculations performed should be written directly into your book. Hard copies of work done on a computer and printouts from laboratory instruments should be taped directly into your lab notebook. Writing important information on scrap paper, and then recording it in your notebook later is not acceptable. If you are writing something while in the laboratory, you should be writing it directly into your notebook. 6At each step in your experiment (after each assay or measurement), in addition to the results, record your thoughts regarding the experiment and how you think it is going. Record your mistakes, and your attempts to rectify them. Record the calculations involved in any type of data analysis, as well as explanations for both what you did and what you think it means. A research project is a journey into the unknown; your laboratory notebook is usually your only guide through the forests of uncertainty. It is also a good idea to look over your notebook periodically during the semester, and make notes of things that you do not understand, so that you can ask questions before the lab reports are due. Do not say “well, I will remember what this means”; instead, write it down Do not say “I will remember what I was thinking while I did this experiment”; instead, write it down If you use your lab notebook properly, you will find that writing your lab reports is much easier, and you will be developing good habits for the future. 7General Information: Laboratory Reports The laboratory reports are major written assignments, due at intervals during the semester. The laboratory reports should be written in the form of a scientific paper. To help you learn to write a scientific paper correctly, the laboratory reports will be due in sections, with each report building on the previous one. Each report should contain all of the information from the previous report, plus all of the new work. You should incorporate the instructor’s suggestions, using these comments to guide you in the generation of the new sections. Note that the later laboratory reports will be graded more stringently than earlier ones: you are expected to learn from your mistakes The laboratory reports should contain the following sections: Laboratory Report 1: Title Page References Materials and Methods Acknowledgments Results/Discussion Appendix (Laboratory Report 1 covers Experiment 2) Laboratory Report 2: Title Page Results Introduction References Materials and Methods Acknowledgments Discussion Appendix (Laboratory Report 2 covers Experiments 2 and 3) Laboratory Report 3: Title Page Discussion Introduction References Abstract Acknowledgments Materials and Methods Appendix Results (Laboratory Report 3 covers Experiments 2, 3, and 4) The Final Laboratory Report is a revision of Report 3, and thus also covers Experiments 2, 3, and 4. Note that the results from Experiment 5 are not included in any of the laboratory reports; instead, you will report your results from Experiment 5 in a poster. All of the laboratory reports are expected to be well formatted, word-processed documents, written in standard scientific American English. The use of spell-checkers and grammar checkers is strongly recommended. (Note: the Appendix does not have to be as neatly formatted as the rest of the report, and, if necessary, may be handwritten.) 8Writing Laboratory Reports In scientific research, results are reported to the world in the form of scientific papers published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. These papers are not only important in disseminating the results of the research, but are critical for essentially all aspects of career advancement for the scientists involved. Learning to write a proper scientific paper is therefore an important part of the education of all scientists. Scientific papers are expected to be written in a well-defined format. The overall format is generally similar in all journals, although the specific details vary somewhat. In this class, the laboratory reports should be in the form of a paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Looking for papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry to use as examples is strongly recommended. (Note that the formatting that you should attempt to emulate applies to content; you do not need to spend time generating the specific page layout of a Journal of Biological Chemistry paper. The preferred page layout for lab report submission has the body of your paper in double-spaced text.) Many scientists have their own preferred ways of writing papers. Most scientists, however, use an iterative process of writing, in which they write the paper, and then rewrite it several times before submitting the paper to the journal for review and (hopefully) publication. In addition, most papers are written in an order that deviates from the final format. A common procedure is to write the Methods section first, followed by the Results section. The Methods section is a simple description of procedures and can be written before the experimental results have been analyzed. The Results section contains the observations that constitute the study to be published. Once these sections are written, most people write an incomplete draft of the Discussion section that explains the results in the context of the paper. After the Results section is written, and some thought put into interpreting the results, most people write the Introduction. When writing your Introduction, you should think of the Introduction as an episode of “Jeopardy”: the Results are the answers, and now it is necessary to come up with corresponding questions. You do not need to write the “questions” in the form of a question, but you should think about raising questions in the readers’ mind that you will then answer in the Results and Discussion sections. After writing the Introduction, you should then look at how you have written Introduction, and rewrite the Results section to more clearly answer the questions raised in the Introduction, and then write the Discussion to interpret and clarify the answers. When properly done, each rewrite acts as an impetus for the rewrite of a different section, until all of the sections fit together into a coherent story. Finally, after all of the other sections have been written, you can write the abstract, by extracting the most important information from each section and combining the information into a single paragraph. 9You should keep these general concepts for writing a paper in mind while considering the content of each section. The content of each section of a scientific paper is discussed below. (Remember that you will not write the paper in this order.) Title Page: This should include the title of your report, the author’s name (i.e. your name), your lab partner’s name(s), and your address (your e-mail address is sufficient). Abstract: This should be a brief version of the entire paper. It therefore should include a brief introduction, methods, results, and discussion, expressed in 200 words. This truncation is normally achieved in part by greatly abbreviating the methods portion, unless the methods involved are novel or are crucial to understanding the findings presented. Thousands of papers are published every week. Most literature database search engines include the title and abstract, but do not include the remainder of the paper. In writing the abstract, remember that the vast majority of readers probably will not read the paper, because they lack the time. Therefore, in order to present your information to the largest possible audience, you need to have an abstract that is clearly written, that is understandable without having to read the paper, and that contains all of the relevant findings from the paper. The abstract should end with the overall conclusions from the paper; once again, this is important because you want people to know what you have discovered. Your job/grant funding/promotions/fame and fortune/ability to do more experiments/ability to retire to the exotic locale of your choice may depend on having people understand what you have done. (This applies to the entire paper, but the abstract tends to be at least skimmed by vast numbers of people who will never read the paper.) Introduction: This section should include background information setting up the scientific problem you are attempting to address and the overall goal of the experiments you performed. What is the hypothesis you are testing? What directly relevant information is necessary to understand this hypothesis and why is it important? What is not known that you hope to address? What are you planning to attempt to accomplish? (Very briefly) How did you accomplish this? In writing an introduction, you are attempting to orient the readers, so that they will know what to consider as they read the rest of the paper. This means that you should carefully consider whether you are presenting information that is irrelevant or misleading. If you discuss an issue related to your protein in the introduction, the reader will expect you to address that issue in the remainder of your paper. In addition, after having read your introduction, the reader should have an appreciation of the questions you were attempting to address with your experiments and why these questions are important. If someone can read your introduction without wanting to read the rest of your paper to find the answer to the burning questions that you raised, you have not written your introduction properly Methods: This section should be a concise summary of what you did. It should include enough detail so that any reasonably intelligent biochemist could repeat your work, 10but not a minute-by-minute recitation of the hours you spent performing the experiment. One common mistake is to include information that belongs in the Results section; the Methods section is for methods. For example, a description of a protein assay should describe the procedure used, but generally should not include a list of the samples measured in the assay. On the other hand, a common mistake is to fail to include some methods, such as the techniques used to analyze the data obtained during the study. When most people read a paper, they tend to skip the Methods section unless they need to know exactly how an experiment was performed. This means that they will not read the Methods unless they do not believe your description in the Results section, or because they work in the field and want to see if you used a novel technique. Because many people skip the Methods section, the Methods section should only be a description of the methods used. With the possible exception of one- time events such as plasmid constructions, it is rarely a good idea to include results in the Methods section. If you do include results in the Methods section, these results should be at least summarized in the Results section also. The Methods section should also contain the source of the important reagents and identifying information for any equipment used. Because research reagents of high quality are available from many vendors, the precise source of most reagents is much less important than it once was. It is common practice, however, to state in the Methods section that, for example, “the ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase expression vector was a generous gift of Dr. C. Meyer”. Results: This section should be a description of what you did in words, illustrated with figures and tables. It is not enough merely to have several figures; you need to explain what each figure means. Try to avoid merely listing results in the text; instead, explain the findings and briefly fit them into the overall context of the paper. For each set of experiments, you need to consider the following questions: What are you doing? Why and how are you doing it? What was the rationale for the methods you employed? What is the point of the experiment you are about to describe? What strategy are you using to address the experimental question you are asking? None of your answers to the above questions should be lengthy, but you do need to consider these questions in writing your report. It may be totally obvious to you why you performed your brilliant experiment, but unless you explain the purpose and rationale behind the experiment, your flawless reasoning may not be obvious to your readers. Remember that you are telling a story to people who have not done the experiments. You cannot assume that the reader will know what you are doing and why. In addition, you are telling a story that people will be predisposed to disbelieve. You therefore need to present your information as clearly as possible. If you do so, people will (at worst) understand what they are criticizing, and (at best) see that you have put enough thought and effort into your work as to make it likely that you are trustworthy. 11What data do you need to report? Do not report data merely because it is available. Instead, report data to make a point. You are trying to tell a factual story. This means that you cannot lie to your readers. On the other hand, if you perform an irrelevant experiment, reporting the results may be confusing. For example, if you perform five SDS-PAGE electrophoresis experiments that show essentially the same results, you do not need to include the results of each individual gel. In reporting the results of an experiment that yielded numerical data, it is poor writing technique to simply list in the text the same values listed in a table or shown in a graph. The raw numbers are meaningless unless put into context. In other words, cite in the text only the important numbers, and explain why these values are important. For reporting numbers in the text, convert the numbers to reasonable values. A number such as 0.0014567 mg/µl is not reasonable for two reasons: 1) converting the value to 1.4567 mg/ml results in a number that is much easier to read, and 2) the number of significant figures reported seems excessive (unless you really believe that your experiment was accurate to five significant figures). As an example, you will be writing a description of LDH purification and LDH enzyme assays in your first Results section. You should consider the following in writing this section. Purification: Why did you perform the purification? What strategy did you employ for the purification? Why did you use the steps you used and not others? During the purification, what step resulted in the greatest purification? When did you observe the LDH to elute from the column? Was this expected, unexpected, or did you have no basis for making a prediction? Is there a figure you could generate to clarify your results? (Is a figure necessary to clarify your results?) Based on your data, was your purification successful or unsuccessful? Why? Do you have any data other than fold- purification to indicate whether your purification was successful? How did your purification compare to literature values obtained for similar proteins? Characterization: Scientific research involves intelligent observation. In other words, you need to look at your data critically, and to attempt to understand everything it is telling you. Why did you run gel filtration chromatography or SDS PAGE on your protein sample? Simply looking at an SDS PAGE or gel filtration experiment as a method for determining the molecular weight of your protein may result in your missing important information about your protein. If you ran these experiments on a sample that you believe to be highly purified, you should examine the results and compare them to what you would expect to see for a completely homogeneous preparation (in other words, to a preparation containing zero contaminants). Thus, in examining a gel filtration chromatogram, do you see any unexpected peaks? For example, if you expect to have a single, monomeric protein, and you see two peaks on a chromatogram, you need to figure out which peak is your protein and which is a contaminant, how much of the contaminating material is present, where it came from (especially if it was not there previously), and whether it is necessary to perform additional purification steps. It is possible that the second peak is a loosely associated protein that interacts with your protein; in which case, you may be learning useful 12information about your protein. Do you see evidence on an SDS PAGE on the same sample for similar contaminants? Why or why not? Enzyme assay: what can you learn from each enzyme assay? (If the answer is “nothing”, is it worth including these results in the paper?) How do you know that the assay results are valid? What assumptions are you making about the enzyme reaction actually occurring in the reaction tube? Are these assumptions likely to be correct for each assay? Are these assumptions likely to be correct for some assays but not for others? What controls did you run to ensure that the results were at least potentially meaningful? In some cases, the answers to the above questions do not need to be stated explicitly. However, you always need to consider the answers before writing the paper. Knowingly incorporating the results of a flawed experiment in a paper is a good way to lose grant funding or become unemployed, and may result in your finding yourself in court defending yourself in a lawsuit or in a criminal trial. This does not mean that experiments that later turn out to be less informative than you would like are useless, but merely means that you should look carefully at your data, and try to understand the validity of each experiment before mentioning it in a written document. Discussion: This section should begin with a brief summary of your results, and an explanation of what they mean. What were you hoping to accomplish? What did you discover as a result of your experiments? Which of your results are interesting? What can you say about your hypotheses now that you have additional data? What did you expect to see? Did you see what you expected? Did you find surprising results? At least in part, the Discussion section should be the section in which you answer the questions you raised in the Introduction. Sometimes the answer is that your original hypothesis turned out to be flawed; in this case, you point out how the data indicate the flaws, and propose a brilliant new hypothesis to account for your observations. Sometimes your original hypothesis is supported by the data, in which case you point out how your original brilliant concept predicted your results. You should end your discussion section with your conclusions. Did your experiment achieve your goals? How are your results going to change the world? Figures and figure legends: In writing a paper, figures can be extremely useful. They are rarely, however, self-explanatory. This means that you need to refer to the figure in the text. In addition, you need to include some relevant information in the figure legend, so that people simply glancing through the paper can derive useful information from the figures. As an example, in a figure of a gel, you should indicate the identity of the samples loaded in the figure legend. If more than one band is present in an important lane, it is often a good idea to highlight the important band in some way. (Note: in doing so, do not write on the actual lane; instead, place an arrow or other marker beside the gel, or beside the lane.) 13Designing figures requires considerable thought. What point are you trying to make with the figure? Is the point necessary? If the point is a necessary one, how can the figure be used to make the point as clear as possible? Can you design a figure to present more information, or present the information more clearly? Figure legends can be extremely useful in allowing you to present relevant information that would disrupt the orderly flow of ideas in the text. The figure legends are also necessary in clarifying the information presented in the figure. References: In any scholarly endeavor, it is customary to give credit to your sources of information. The Reference section allows you to properly credit the originators of the information you are presenting. Where did your introductory information come from? Where did your methods come from? (Note that, unless you invented the method, you should always reference the paper that first described the work.) Acknowledgments: In scientific papers, it is customary to thank the agency that funded the research. In addition, it is polite to acknowledge gifts of reagents or other supplies. Note that, if you purchased the reagent, the source of the reagent should be cited in the Methods section. Appendix: Finally, the report should contain an appendix that contains your raw data and the calculations that you used to reduce your data to understandable form. In a real paper, Appendix sections are only included for the description of novel calculations; in this course, the Appendix is included so that your lab instructor can correct your calculation mistakes. In each section, attempt to organize the information you are presenting logically. Scientific papers are written for intelligent people who have not done the experiments you are describing. If your report is disorganized they may not understand it. If you do not write well, the reader will not believe your conclusions. (In the real world, a poorly written paper will not be published, and you will not get grant funding In this class, if you instructor does not believe your conclusions, you will not get a good grade.) The list of questions below is designed to help you write each section of the report correctly. Reading over this list of questions before writing a draft of the report is strongly recommended. Reading these questions after writing your first draft, and using the questions to guide your revisions is also strongly recommended. Criteria for Judging Lab Reports: General: Does it contain the required sections? Is it clearly written? Does it use scientific terms properly? Does it use good grammar? Are the words spelled correctly? Are the calculations performed correctly? 14Is it unnecessarily long? Is the title meaningful? Does the title page contain the author’s name and address? Does the title page contain the name(s) of the author’s lab partners? Abstract: Does it introduce the overall topic? Does it explain the hypothesis being tested? Are the important methods described? Does it reach logical conclusions supported by the data? Does it flow well? Is it logically written? Is it concise? Introduction: Does it give general background? Does it point out poorly understood or unknown factors related to the study? Does it raise questions? Does it explain the hypothesis being tested? Does it discuss the significance of the work? Does it flow well? Is it logically written? Is it concise? Materials and Methods: Could the experiments be understood based on the information given? Does it include the source of the reagents? Does it include information that belongs in the Results section? Does it describe all of the methods used? Is it excessively long? Results: Does it explain the rationale and strategy for the experiments performed? Does it describe, in words, what was done? Does it answer the questions raised in the Introduction? Does it flow well? Is it logically written? Is it concise? Discussion: Does it summarize the findings obtained in the Results section? Does it discuss the expected results? Does it discuss the unexpected results? Does it answer the questions raised in the Introduction? Does it reach conclusions? Does it explain why the conclusions are important? Does it flow well? Is it logically written? Is it concise? Figures: Are the figures well designed? Do the figures include informative legends? Do the figures present information useful for understanding the text? Tables: Are the tables well designed? 15Do the tables present information useful for understanding the text? Is the information in the tables redundant? Acknowledgments: Are the sources of funding given credit? References: Is the information obtained from published sources properly referenced? Appendix: Are the raw data and the calculations included? 16Experiment 1: Introduction to Techniques Experiment 1A Use of Pipetmen In biochemistry, the ability to accurately and reproducibly measure and transfer small volumes of liquids is critical for obtaining useful results. For volumes less than 1 ml, the most common method for measuring liquid volumes involves the use of a device known as a pipetman. (Note: “Pipetman” is the brand name of the most commonly used of these types of pipets; however, all of these pipetting devices work on similar principles.) A drawing of a pipetman is shown at right. The devices you use may not look exactly like the one shown. The pipetmen used in this course come in three different types: P1000, P200, and P20. P1000 are useful for volumes from 200 to 1000 µl. P200 are useful for volumes from 20 to 200 µl. P20 are useful for volumes from 0.5 to 20 µl. Make sure that you are using the correct pipetman for the volume you need. Also, make sure that the pipetman is actually set for the volume you need by looking in the “volume window”, and, if necessary, turning the “volume control knob” until the pipetman displays the correct volume (the pipetmen do not read your mind; because several people will use the pipets, they may not always be set as you expect them to be). Do not attempt to set pipetmen for volumes larger than their maximum, or for volumes less than zero; doing so will damage the pipetman. All pipetmen use disposable tips (do not pipet liquids without using the appropriate tip, because this will contaminate the pipetman and may damage it). When attaching the tip, make certain that the tip is the correct type for the pipetman you are using, and that the tip is properly seated on the end of the pipetman. Try depressing the plunger. As the plunger depresses, you will feel a sudden increase in resistance. This is the first “stop”. If you continue pushing, you will find a point where the plunger no longer moves downward (the second “stop”). When using the pipet, depress the plunger to the first “stop”, place the tip into the liquid, and in a slow, controlled manner, allow the plunger to move upwards. (Do not simply let the plunger go; doing so will cause the liquid to splatter within the tip, resulting in inaccurate volumes and in contamination of the pipet.) Now, take the pipetman (carrying the pipetted liquid in the tip) to the container to which you wish to add liquid. Depress the plunger to the first, and then to the second stop. If you watch carefully, you will note that depressing to the second stop expels all of the liquid from the tip. (Actually, this is true for most aqueous solutions. In some 17cases, however, such as for organic solvents, or for solutions containing large amounts of protein, it is often difficult to get all of the liquid out of the tip. In these cases, it is best to “wet” the tip, by pipetting the original solution once, expelling it, and then taking up the liquid a second time.) Although pipetmen are tremendously useful, they have a potential drawback. If used improperly, pipetmen will transfer inaccurate volumes. In addition, pipetmen may lose calibration. If used incautiously, therefore, pipetmen may yield misleading or even totally useless results. Checking the calibration of pipetmen is a simple procedure that can save considerable time, energy, and reagents. In this experiment, you will learn how to use pipetmen of various sizes and measure their accuracy, precision, and calibration. Experimental Procedures Materials Pipetmen Pipet tips Water Balances Weigh Boats Methods For each Pipetman you will want to check the accuracy and precision over the entire range using at least two different volumes (for example: if you are using a P1000 you will want to check 300 µl and 1000 µl). Accuracy is a measure of proximity to the true value or the expected value for a measurement. Precision is a measure of reproducibility. For example, obtaining weights of 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 grams for a P1000 set for 1000 µl would be accurate, but not precise; obtaining 0.67, 0.68, and 0.67 g for the same setting would be precise, but not accurate. 1. Acquire Pipetmen and the correct size tips. 2. Place a weigh boat on the balance and tare the weight to zero. 3. Draw up the designated volume of deionized water into the pipet tip and dispense it onto the weigh boat. Record the weight of the water added. 4. Repeat the procedure twice for each volume (yielding a total of three weights for each volume). The P20 uses very small volumes, which have very small weights. In order to obtain accurate readings with the relatively low precision balances available, you may need to pipet the volume of water several times (5 or 10 times is recommended) for each volume being tested. For example, pipet 10 µl 10 times in succession, and record the weight of the 100 µl total volume as one measurement. Analyze the data you collect as described in the section on data reduction (below). 18Prelab Questions 1B 1. Your lab partner hands you a P200 Pipetman set as shown in the diagram at right. What volume is it set for? Is this the proper Pipetman for this volume? Why (or why not)? 2. You have a 0.5 M stock solution of Tris base. How would you make 100 ml of 0.03 M Tris base? 3. If you perform a 1:4 dilution on 50 mM Tris base, what is the final concentration? 4. Is the extinction coefficient for a molecule the same for all wavelengths? 5. You prepare several dilutions of an unknown compound. You measure the absorbance of each solution at 340 nm using a 1 cm cuvette (your results are listed in -1 the table below). What is the extinction coefficient (in (M•cm) ) of the compound? (Hint: assume that each of the individual values contains some degree of experimental error.) Concentration Absorbance at (µM) 340 nm 2 0.009 4 0.020 8 0.061 16 0.111 32 0.189 19Experiment 1B Spectroscopy and Dilutions Spectroscopy A spectrophotometer is an instrument for measuring the absorbance of a solution. Absorbance is a useful quantity. The Beer-Lambert law states that: A = εcl where A is the absorbance of the sample at a particular wavelength, is the -1 extinction coefficient for the compound at that wavelength in (M•cm) , c is the molar concentration of the absorbing species, and l is the path length of the solution in cm. Thus, if the extinction coefficient of an absorbing species is known, the absorbance of the solution can be used to calculate the concentration of the absorbing species in solution. (This assumes that the species of interest is the only material that absorbs at the wavelength being measured.) The above is an explanation of why we measure absorbance: absorbance allows us to calculate the concentration of compounds in solution. However, it does not explain what absorbance is. Another definition of absorbance is: ⎛ I ⎞ 0 A = log ⎝ ⎠ I where I is the amount of light 0 entering the sample, and I is the amount of light leaving the sample. Absorbance is therefore a measure of the portion of the light leaving the lamp that actually makes it to the detector. A little thought will reveal that when absorbance = 1, only 10% of the light is reaching the detector; when absorbance = 2, only 1% of the light is reaching the detector. The typical internal arrangement of a Spectrophotometer Absorbance values greater than 2 are unreliable, because too little light is reaching the detector to allow accurate measurements. When measuring absorbance, note the values; if the reading is greater than 2, dilute the sample and repeat the measurement. Spectrophotometers measure the decrease in the amount of light reaching the detector. A spectrophotometer will interpret fingerprints on the optical face of the cuvette, or air bubbles, or objects floating in your solution as absorbance; you therefore need to look carefully at your cuvette before putting it into the spectrophotometer to make sure that your reading is not subject to these types of artifacts. Cuvettes are usually square objects 1 cm across (as shown in the above figure). In some cases, the liquid reservoir is not square; in those cases, make sure that the 1 cm dimension is aligned with the light path (note the orientation in the diagram above.) 20

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