Skip to main content

Emerging techniques of western blotting for purification and analysis of protein



Western blotting is frequently employed in molecular techniques like Proteomics and Biology. Because it is a sequential framework, differences and inaccuracies could even take place at any stage, decreasing this particular method's reproducibility and reliability.

Main text

New approaches, like automated microfluid western blotting, DigiWest, single cell resolution, microchip electrophoresis, and capillary electrophoresis, were all implemented to reduce the future conflicts linked with the western blot analysis approach. Discovery of new in devices and higher susceptibility for western blots gives innovative opportunities to expand Western blot’s clinical relevance. The advancements in various region of west blotting included in this analysis of transfer of protein and validation of antibody are described.


This paper describes another very developed strategy available as well as demonstrated the correlation among Western blotting techniques of the next generation and their clinical implications. In this review, the different techniques of western blotting and their improvement in different stages have been discussed.


The western blot is a popular method for detecting post-translational protein changes as well as protein structure and it offers quantitative or semi-quantitative data on the protein structure in single or multiple biological samples [1]. It’s a technique that’s widely used in protein analysis [2,3,4]. This is a multi-step procedure that normally involves preparation of samples (collection of protein and protein concentration measurement) through tissue or cells lysates, segregation of proteins via size from polyacrylamide gel by electrophoresis on sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), immobilisation of separate molecules in the membrane of nitrocellulose or polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), blockage of non-specific membrane proteins, testing of protein targets with specialised specific antibody, cells were incubated with secondary antibodies combined with fluorescent molecule labels or chemiluminescent signal detection reflecting antigen/antibody binding, protein band densitometry assessment utilising a software [3, 5].

Alterations could even affect the course at any step of the procedure. Therefore, care shall be exercised to optimise the high sensitivity and reproducibility from each step of the western blotting procedure. Effective sample preparation is a crucially important factor of provable western blot analysis. An effective step in the separation and purification of proteins seems to have a significant effect on the final observation of western blot analysis experiments [3]. To collect proteins effectively, an appropriate homogenization method should be selected which can quickly and effectively discharge the cell's intracellular components via the bursting of cell membranes [5]. Furthermore, an effective lysis buffer must be selected to facilitate the appropriate protein solubilization and inhibit this proteolytic deterioration to achieve maximum target protein amounts [5, 6]. The various steps involved in western blot analysis are shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Steps-Western blot analysis

For more than 30 years, Western blotting has also been used to examine proteins in a variety of blood samples. To begin, lowly expressed proteins can be identified more effectively by decreasing the amount of sample loaded. This technique is used to detect the small sample of protein (1–3 microgram of total protein) by single cell western blotting. Western blotting is a powerful method for analysing the existence, concentration, mass, alteration, and correlations of protein molecules in a sample that was started in the late 1970s. Even so, it has several disadvantages, including the volume of sample that is placed upon a gel designed to detect proteins that are less common [1]. Western blotting methods have spread across the scientific world, and they are now regarded as standard techniques within the field of physiology. This is particularly true when it comes to skeletal muscle physiology. Even so, such physiological reports now include western blotting data as a requirement to provide mechanistic insight into regulatory processes. Despite its popularity and the widespread and relatively low cost of western blotting devices, the accuracy of western blotting in a corresponding analysis of the data could be unpredictable, potentially leading to wrong conclusions. This could be due to poor laboratory work or a failure to understand the crucial western blotting measures [5]

Main text

Issues encircling western blot analysis

Western blotting is primarily concerned about the lack of every cooperation about what defines reliability. Identification of small concentrations of modified proteins and post-translation proteins like methylation, acetylation, and phosphorylation are complicated because of the need to significantly larger specimen quantities (typically > 10 μg), and also high-quality verified antibodies for the western blot analysis against the phosphorylated antigens [7, 8]. Certain issues involve analysing protein complexes from a single sample run is sometimes challenging, because it generally takes membrane stripping to isolate the antibody but then re-testing the next protein with a second antibody [9]. The latest process named multiple antigen detection (MAD) has been introduced to enable the analysis of multiple antigens on a single blot without stripping [10].

The blot is incubated to reduce non-specific background in the MAD-immunoblotting process, with secondary antibodies and also the outer layer formed with the chromogenic substrate until the primary antibodies of significance are sampled [10]. So, this technique appears encouraging, the quantification of such blots, an essential part of western blot analysis, was not very well explained [10]. Blots could also be sliced into multiple parts and used to identify targets inside the cut membrane’s; however, this restricts details upon what targets the antibody could even identify. Identification of very large proteins of molecular weight (> 500 kDa) may be questionable due to issues in their modification from gels to membrane. In addition, proteolytic sample degradation, incorrect preparation of samples, lack of automation, issues with blot standardization, and many serious problems about the western blot analysis process are quantitative analysis [7,8,9].

Development across the last decade in western blot analysis

Important advances in the simple western blot methodology are already documented over the last 2 decades. Changes in the blotting (appliances, blotting reagents, and processes), preparatory process (homogenization, lysis buffers), and methods of detection were all identified. Such improvements increase the western blot’s time needed, reproducibility, and reliability. The new developments to increase the vulnerability and reliability of western blotting are explained in Fig. 2

Fig. 2
figure 2

Newer techniques involved in western blotting

Capillary and microchip electrophoresis (MCE)

Western blot's main drawbacks include its time-consuming existence, the need for a considerably high sample quantity (typically 10–20 μg/assay), and they generally detect just one protein at a time. MCE also has greater sensitivity and improved precision relative to the traditional western blot analysis technique, which enables the assessment of various target proteins from a single sample of lysate cells. This method avoids the blocking steps and allows a shorter analytical time (electrophoretic resolution est. 8 min). It enables a parallel multiplexed assay was performed of the set of proteins to be conducted with limited sample number. In short, various doses of certain protein samples are mounted to a microchip in different tracks and collected for immunoassay on a PVDF membrane [9]. This technique enables parallel multimode tests of the protein groups to be performed with a limited sample size. It was used to quantify 11 types of proteins just using 400 ng of Jurkat cell lysate material. Many of these protein targets have very small molecular weight differences and were identified by MCE. This approach is being established, so it will probably be accessible to the average user in the coming years. Additional advancements under this methodology will allow for substantial advancements in protein detection multiplexing.

This automatic immunoblotting of the protein is a configurable regulated procedure (which means pressure control and voltage) that incorporates PAGE with blotting through one device [11]. The method enables for viewing the combined test phases (transition, PAGE, and in-gel blotting) utilizing an epifluorescence microscope fitted with a charging-coupled camera system. Western blotting with the single-cell resolution has been designed to monitor individual cell-to-cell differences in protein production among cells. In this process, polyacrylamide gels are photopatterned (photochemically etched) on microfluid glass machines which serve as a framework for integrating multiple analysis measures. The method is simple, taking less than 5 min to identify a free specific antigen in a human seminal fluid sample. Since the glass chips included in this process are reusable after basic chemical treatments, it is cost-effective and reduces reagent use. The procedure is still being refined to increase sensitivity and allow for protein quantification [12]. The microdevice included in this analysis is a thin layered polyacrylamide gel comprising microwells. A new commercial device, Milo™ (ProteinSimple, USA) is the first single-cell western platform in the world. Milo was named the Best New Life Sciences Product of 2016 by the Scientists' Choice Awards. Milo™ can measure protein expression in 1000 single cells in around 4 h (up to four proteins per cell at once) [13]. Protein differences in stem cell signaling and differentiation have also been studied using highly sensitive single-cell-resolution immunoblotting.


The DigiWest approach extracts proteins through electrophoresis and moves proteins to the blotting membrane. And next process is to biotinylate proteins (utilizing amino-reactive biotinylation reagents) upon this membrane and break the membrane into 96 strips to produce 96 separate fractions of molecular weight on a membrane. Phycoerythrin identification is achieved using a 3D instrument from Luminex FLEXMAP. The benefits of this approach are the improved sample efficiency, lower lysate requires/target tracking, and lower antibody quantities needed. The drawbacks of this approach involve like biotinylation of target proteins, specilized reagents, facilities required during process, intial setup expenses, conversion issues of digital DigiWest to western blot replicates and protein elution from PVDF membranes. Such proteins are eluted from the strips onto 96-well plates containing neutravidin-coated Luminex beads. Each well has its unique collection of beads with various colour codes. The elements of the complete path now are rebuilt with various colour codes referring to molecular weight of the immobilized proteins after beads have been collected. Fresh wells are incubated with antibodies night using only a limited aliquot of the bead pool, and afterward, phycoerythrin-labelled secondary antibodies are applied to identify the main antibodies utilized [14].


This approach requires a micro-loader system that loads samples in a funnel-like structure. The system is placed on top of polyacrylamide gel then loaded by capillary action with 4% mounting gel solution through tip outlet. Electrophoresis is localized to the protein inside a sample which passes via the transfer pipette. The inclusion of a micro-charger to gels strengthened all protein resolution and Splitting. By mounting just 1.5 μg of protein per lane, such a procedure was capable of detecting the number of phosphoproteins and proteins in-sample. This technique consists with being incredibly simple for doing and can be quite effective in evaluating phosphorylation and protein expression in samples which are restricted, uncommon and difficult to access because it involves very small quantities of loading samples for signals detection [1].

Thin-film direct coating with suction (TDCS)

It is a capillary-tube method based aimed to minimize the absorption of antibodies and the time needed for western blot analysis [15]. It is an extremely sensitive and fast detection tool for the quantitative study of multiple associations between antigen and antibody. TCDS running time is significantly shorter (approx. 5 min) than traditional western blotting with an improved signal-to-noise ratio. This approach gave the purified recombinant glutathione-transferase (GST) proteins (90–6000 ng) a strong dynamic detection ability. This approach is therefore quick and allows for a detailed study of different binding proteins. Even this method is still in study procedures and it will only be a couple of years before any labs use it. Proteins are can be resolved on SDS-PAGE through electrophoresis and moved to PVDF membrane about 60 min with 10 mM 3(Cyclohexylamino)-1-propanesulfonic acid (CAPS) buffer solution (pH 11) and 15% methanol in this process. The PVDF layer is put on a level and given 10 min to air dry. Then, the main antibody solution (0.1–0.2 µl) is applied to the coater placed on a translational phase by a liquid pump. The coating procedure is customizable and takes below 1 min. The distance between the PVDF membrane and coater is kept to a minimum. The PVDF layer is being incubated for 2–10 min before being washed with suction for less than 1 min before being treated with a specific antibody utilizing the same coating technique.

Gel to membrane protein transfer techniques improvement

The various methods which have been implemented by different researchers to transmit remedied proteins from gels of SDS-PAGE gels to the membrane of nitrocellulose or PVDF membranes are listed in Table 1.

Table 1 Methods of western blot to transmit proteins from gels

Method of transfer improvement

The production of faster methodology for the transmission of proteins to membranes from the gel is among the adjustments in western blotting emerging technologies. This included the cassette of power blot (Pierce; five-ten min transmission, Pierce, USA), the system of dry blotting (iBlot®; 5–7 min of transmission, Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA), and trans blot (3–7 min of transmission, Bio-Rad, USA). By using these new techniques, the time of transfer is substantially reduced from 1 h to 10 min or less. By converting the western blot technique to beads, an analytical tool is created which maintains the benefits with this traditional protein detection system while still allowing lots of different antibodies to be used in a fast and responsive assay method [14].

Polyacrylamide gel improvement

Many firms have developed pre-fabricated gels with stronger protein-separating ability, higher shelf life (usually for 1 year), quicker operations than pre-fabricated gels, 5 years earlier, and have seen them last a few months longer than that of the expiration date. The Tris/Tricine/urea sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) method is well-known for its suitability for peptide hormone in gel electrophoresis. The proteins were separated using the Tris/Tricine/SDS buffer solutions on a 10–20 percent level polyacrylamide gel consisting of 6.3 M urea. The Gel Factory mini MP system was used to create the gradient gel [38].

Retention improvement of hormones of peptide on membrane of blotting

It has been shown that insulin retention is lesser on membranes of PVDF. Western blotting was greatly enhanced by glutaraldehyde (0.2%) treatment of membrane of PVDF blotting in saline a buffer consisting of tween-80 for fifteen min. Fixation of glutaraldehyde avoided or lower insulin loss throughout west blotting from the tissue. The use of a buffer of citrate (retrieval) improved slightly the pro-insulin and insulin signal. The addition of glutaraldehyde to the membrane stopped or decreased the amount of insulin loss in western blotting. The signalling of insulin and proinsulin was marginally improved when a citrate retrieval buffer (10 mM citric acid, 1 mM EDTA, 0.05 percent Tween 20, pH 6.0) was used [38].

Blotting of diffusion

Singular prefabricated gels of SDS-PAGE on the plastic assistance are the fast and simple way to produce multiple blots by blotting of diffusion. Numerous proteins could be evaluated on the similar blots created of the similar gel via diffusion blotting. Diffusion blotting has been shown to transmit around ten percent of protein in 3min, to transmit twenty percent of protein in 20 min, and to pass 40–60% after 3 h. Especially in comparison with electroblotting, blotting by diffusion could raise the number of proteins that are effectively transported to the membrane surface. This process allowed complete transmission of proteins from 0.1 to 0.2 mm gels of ultrathin to support plastic that otherwise cannot be separated by conventional electroblotting methodologies. In comparison with 1-h electroblotting, diffusion blotting for 3 min results in a 10% quantitative transition. To provide the same levels of protein around each blot from the same gel, the transfer time must be doubled with each following blot. As opposed to electroblotting, high- and low-molecular-weight compounds are moved similarly easily. Even then, in comparison with alternative proteins, both approaches lead to increased maximum conversion of low-molecular-weight proteins. The major benefit of diffusion blotting that each channel will produce multiple blots, allowing multiple antisera to be tested on nearly identical blots. The gel stays attached to the plastic frame, preventing it from expanding or shrinking. This means that all blots are equal and allows for more accurate molecular weight estimation. Moreover, the proteins left in the gel may be coloured with Coomassie Brilliant Blue or other approaches for precise and straightforward contrast with the formed blots. Diffusion blotting has been the preferred method where quantitative protein exchange is not needed because of these benefits [39].

Analysis of western blot utilizing molecular weight marker detecting secondary antibody

Although many molecular mass indicators in immune-blotting are proteins that is covalently linked with pigments to assess the amount of particular protein. Even then, the utilization of protein conjugation dyes almost always modulates protein electro-mobility and can influence the precise prediction of molecular mass [40, 41]. Markers of molecular weight with dye conjugation are standardized with guidelines and numerous protein (unstained) ladders are accessible, and yet unnoticeable once blots are visualized. To combat this problem, the latest stain-free and auto measurable molecular mass standards have been established, like the western marker of easy see, the ladder of protein-based on A/G proteins, the ladder of protein (fluorescent green) [42, 43]. The utilization of such a class of indicators, even so, is restricted from that they should be used for exact molecular mass estimation under non-denaturable circumstances [44]. A further category of denaturable indicators like S-tagging, hex histidine, and mega-tag ladder has been established. Such indicators, even so, require label-specific primary tracking antibodies and are therefore not appropriate for the quantification of label-free protein [45].

To provide quick and efficient testing the size of protein, a fresh epitope of rabbit and mouse linear molecular mass benchmark was established for immunoblotting and SDS-PAGE. Planar epitopes deriving from the constant heavy chain areas of mice and rat’s immunoglobulin G are included in the fresh epitopes of rabbit and mouse. In contrast to standard markers of protein, the epitope of rabbits and mouse is free of dye, detected automatically and it can be determined by horseradish peroxidase covalently linked mice and rats, in denatured circumstances. The MagicMark XP west-protein framework, which was established by Invitrogen, was also an antibody-binding concept [40].

Total and target protein co-detection by immunoblotting of fluorescent ECL and labelling of Cydye

Western blotting is generally used to identify specific proteins using antigen–antibody interrelationships with one-dimensional electrophoresis of gel. The issue of the point similarity among immunoblots complicates the implementation of immunoblotting to electrophoresis of gel (2-dimensional) that can recognise dozens of proteins on a given gel. An ECL PlexCyDye immunoblot system of detection combined with labelling of electrophoresis of gel with ECL PlexCyDye supplementary conjugated antibodies was established to tackle this issue [46]. This framework simultaneously allows the detection of immune of particular target proteins and the overall expression of the proteins. Reagent of Cydye cyanine is used to label the samples of protein to resolve on electrophoresis of gel (2-D) for immobilization of proteins in the membranes. Antibodies of secondary ECL PlexCydye labelled with fluorescence and antibodies that are specific primary are used to incubate immobilized proteins. At certain wavelengths, utilizing imager (fluorescent), visualisation of proteins is carried out. Though its alteration of proteins by CyDye can impact antibody-antigen interrelationships, the process is highly sensitive [47].

Micro western

The micro western is an effective western blot methodology in the next decade used to confirm the diagnosis of purification of proteins of HIV p24 and gp120 in blood plasma. In relative to traditional western blotting, it is an advanced automatic microchip technology with a microchannel, 54-plex detection of protein that necessitates a total operating time of 10–80 min and is cheap (103-times lower antibodies and consumption of buffer compared to standard). Though perhaps not yet accessible, the Micro-Western is probably an appropriate method for diagnosing the science of cancer and contagious diseases [48].

System of iBind western

The iBind Western process (Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA) uses a fairly cheap semi-automated western blotting structure that distributes reagents and antibodies to separate compartments by the technology of sequential flow. The benefits of this approach involve minimal prices, less antibody required, and secondary and primary incubations without support once the reagents are packed. The scheme worries reduced device performance and the requirement for specialized materials like a Bind Card. Small benchtop tools called iBind Western Systems simplify the steps of western blot analysis. To produce the sequential lateral flow (SLF) of immunodetection materials for the inhibition, antibody linking, and washing processes involved in western blot immunodetection workflow, the iBind Western Systems rely on the mechanical force produced by unit on a specialized glass fibre matrix iBind Card. For CVs usually less than 5%, automatic processing improves blot-to-blot accuracy (in comparison with manual processing which could have CVs of 13%). For certain monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, the iBind Systems have higher sensitivity than the traditional method. Cleaner western blots can be achieved by using the iBind Western Systems in conjunction with extremely specialized main and secondary antibodies [49].

Blot cycler

With the BlotCycler (Precision Biosystems, USA), all processing of membranes is automated fully and up to 12 membranes are concurrently processed. Some benefits of this method are reduced prerequisites for antibodies than standard blots, the primary antibody is stored and the utilisation increases instantly. Correlations between non-manufacturer and standard western blotting methodology are restricted in the way that the BlotCycler relates. The BlotCyclerTM is an Automated Western Blot Development device that completes all cleaning, trapping, and incubation measures for the blot. Then to set up the machine with the necessary reagents. Then, for the required assay, configure it. Following that, it moves on to the assay. It will notify users when such vital steps are done also when the test is finished. There are no special reagents needed for this device [50]. It offers various advantages like.

  • Higher reproducibility and sensitivity.

  • All surface processing methods are completely automated.

  • Up to 12 membranes can be processed at the same time.

  • Six separate Primary and Secondary antibodies were also processed at the same time.

  • All actions for specific procedures can be easily programmed.

System of SNAP i.d.

A technology based on vacuum and a flow distribution system is used to uniformly distribute solvents via the tissue in a cheap system of SNAP i.d. 2.0 (Merck, USA). The primary merit of this methodology is that it takes around 30 min for washing, incubation of antibody, and blocking. This process worked well in fingers; however, the output to sound ratio of the observed bands was not as great as the traditional western blotting technique. The second version of the latest gold standard for the immunodetection process of Western blotting is the SNAP i.d.® 2.0 Protein Detection device. Unlike traditional Western blotting, which relies on diffusion to move reagents, the SNAP i.d.® 2.0 device actively drives reagents via the membrane [51]. It offers advantages as follows:

  • Antibody-antigen binding was improved, washes were enhanced, and antibody recollection was increased.

  • 2 gel sizes are available: mini (7.5 × 8.4 cm) and midi (9.5 × 8.4 cm) (8.7 × 13.5 cm).

  • Immunodetection in 30 min.

  • Because of the system’s unusual nature, small amounts of antibodies can be used to incubate either with PVDF or nitrocellulose blotting membranes.

  • The SNAP i.d.® 2.0 introduces new innovative western blotting features while requiring no extra reagent use (e.g., antigen, antibody, or, detection reagents).

The merits and demerits of the newer methods of western blotting are listed in Table 2.

Table 2 Merits and demerits of the techniques of western blotting

Clinical implications of western blotting

Western blotting is a useful method for researching HIV confirmatory serum evaluation and regulatory signalling mechanisms. The progression of Western blot technology, from detecting a particular protein in a broad variety to specific protein identification in one cell, makes it an essential analysis tool in the sense of clinical practice. An advanced western blotting procedure was utilized for the study of signals and differentiation of stem cells as well as the immune responses in cancer cells. Cell-to-cell differences in around 2000 cells were studied at the same time in complex cell types using one cell western blotting [52,53,54,55].

Integrating intact cell imagery enables the detection, within the large cohort of cancer cells in human glioma cells treated with chemotherapy daunomycin, of conformational changes expresses of a single resistant strain of cancer cells. Recognition of an actual drug efflux pump, which was a possible mechanism to the resistance to antibiotics, was suggested by P-glycoprotein in live subgroups of the glioblastoma [56]. A single-size or 2-DE/MALDI-mass spectroscopy technique was employed to construct the dataset H. pylori (low expressing and membrane proteins). Similarly, for the analyses of 15 valent pneumococcal PCV15-CRM197 vaccination, Basic Western technology was used. The Basic Western approach can be expanded to examine species of other polysaccharide protein–ligand vaccines because of its great specificity and computation [57].

West blotting is widely utilized for the clinical detection of different parasites, fungal disorders, and aspergillosis. The trial has effectively been utilized in a recent study for the accurate serodiagnosis of Farmers’ Lung Disease (FLD), an immunogenic particle aerosolized respiratory disorder. This approach can therefore be used in labs for quick routine FLD diagnoses. Likewise, diverse biological and biochemical approaches have been employed for the medical diagnosis of TB meningitis, which would be a progressive disorder of the central nervous region [58,59,60,61].

All these methods, however, have their drawbacks. The immunohistochemistry of Mycobacterium tuberculosis antibodies was conducted by Western blotting to address diagnostic problems of lower susceptibility and precision. Western blotting was often used to diagnose chronic toxoplasmosis soon and sensitively and was used to rapidly and responsively diagnose serologically a severe infectious paracocidodomycosis disorder (PCM). In aids patients, immunoblotting was used to identify a new subset of human lymphotropic retroviruses (HTLV) [62,63,64,65]. LD Bio Diagnostics (France) recently produced an industrial Aspergillus West blotting IgG system for the medical diagnosis of chronic aspergillosis to carry up immunoblotting. Dozens of specimens from aspergillus disease patients could be examined by the industrial kit [66]. As more developments are introduced to enhance the responsiveness and reproducibility of the occident blotting technology, the medical uses of Western blotting techniques will begin.

Current status and future prospective

Protein samples used during western blotting are very diverse, varying from protein to extremely complex samples like tissue lysate containing cell waste, matrix proteins, fat, and proteases. To extract the intracellular protein, the cell should be broken to release the cellular material utilizing a sufficient lysis buffer to achieve the highest yield of solubilized protein. Conformation and stabilization of proteins differ greatly with buffer and laboratory factors used [7]. The key factors affecting the handling of material would include time during selection and processing of tissues, repeated freeze cycles of samples taken, inadequate homogenization procedures, and the use of an insufficient buffer [67] membrane proteins. Any lysis buffers led to inadequate extraction of these protein classes, like protein subunits, and ribosomal proteins [68]. Tissues are more complicated than cells and need more manual effort than cultured cells for efficient sample processing. To enhance western blot precision, materials must be rapidly obtained through an ice-cold buffer and then frozen in liquid nitrogen and preserved at − 80 °C before they are used to prevent proteolytic destruction by endogenous proteases [69]. In addition, multiple freeze periods of samples should be stopped to reduce the degradation of protein [5]. While the optimal method of disruption will require one step, several labs use 2 or 3 strategies to reach successful material disruption. The process of the experiment is based on the desired application of a sample. If specific proteins are required for concurrent electrophoresis of native gel [70], the homogenization technique must prevent heat-generating or foaming reactions. In certain instances, to obtain a higher yields of protein targets released at low ranks, further sampling is performed to interrupt cell membranes [5]. Sonication needs high sound waves produced by a probe which quickly magnifies and expands at higher frequency. Within seconds, such sound waves will disturb many of cell types. Although quite successful in destroying cells and partially homogenized tissue, sonication just isn’t very useful for solid tissues. Since sonication produces heat energy, it's also critical how this operation is conducted on ice using a few short bursts. With the growing need for high throughput homogenizers in technologies like screening techniques, methods have been suggested to improve the homogenization efficiency. Another technique used by the lab would be a mixer mill that exploits the efficiency of bead beating and thus can handle multiple samples in various types of tubing, like microwell plates.

In the next 5 years, it’s also probable that the development and enhancement of accessible Western blot devices, blot reagents, technology, automated detection systems would rise at a quicker speed than those in past years dependent on the quantity of new Western blot items launched over the last 2 years. Most businesses invest in the Western blot items of next generation. Even more advances and developments in multiple access as in the analysis of protein expression would proceed with the production of new fluorochromes. Extra upgrades to widely viable optical detection devices would accelerate and costs may begin to deteriorate as an expense of high-resolution and low-light cameras declines. The use of polyclonal antibodies would decline compared to monoclonal antibodies. Reducing the supply of polyclonal antibodies to certain purposes was partially the result of the failure of Santa Cruz Biotech (USA) to market polyclonal antibodies after the failure of its authorization under the Animal Welfare Act in using goats or rabbits [71] separation matrix, Significant advances in analytical instruments such as Basic Western and microfluidic protein immune blotting can be produced by incorporating differences in capillary flow, capillary materials, and automated imaging and analysis tools. The volume of fluid and antibody required for Western blots will tend to decline due to new technology and also changes in ECL. Western blots would remain a significant diagnostic method that provides the mechanistic understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in various metabolic disorders and it will begin to aid in the creation of innovative clinical approaches to different disorders. Enhancements as in the western blot method in the next 5 years may lead to considerably more clinical studies being performed. During the next century, small, fast throughput automatic Western blot machines containing automatic analysis tools will likely to pursue ELISA for the treatment of certain infectious diseases. Western blotting is now an effective tool for the identification of pathogens in specific serums including the Zika virus [72].

A huge issue with Western blot is correlated with the quantification phase. Part of the aim semi quantification depends on mounting functions to stabilize the results. Even so, in certain lab conditions, all loading controls tend to be modified. Sometimes, if incorrect findings are produced, the issue is usually related to loading control as well as the target protein band strength is not in the range. Utilizing tubulin as just a loading control to assess the protein levels of a particular gene in animals, the target protein was shown to be substantially decreased within mutant population compared to the placebo group [73]. Even then, the finding was attributed to the reason that more samples were loaded for the wild group called since there was no gap in protein expression here between 2 groups when that sample size was loaded. Production of housekeeping proteins often depends upon the type of tissue and various laboratory environments. In these circumstances, the relative quantification of protein production is inaccurate. The use of total protein stain as an alternative loading control is proposed to resolve such issues. The Western blot strategy's protein loading measures must be designed to ensure a linear range. Even so, the protein quantification levels from samples on different blots still are problematic and can be prevented if necessary. Issues are also found when blotting proteins with large molecular mass. Owing to the bigger size (> 200 KDa), such proteins were badly gel-resolved and often not easily moved. The use of tris–acetate (3–8%) gels, as well as the addition of 0.05% SDS to the buffer solution, is an effective option for efficient resolution and transfer of protein molecules. This is understood that certain proteins occur as several isoforms or can occur as similar multiple bands in western blots [74].


There's been meaningful progress in managing complicated Western blotting problems. Kits (Pierce Fast of Thermo Scientific) and simplified processes (Western Workflow of Bio-Rad's V3) are open to creating western blotting quicker and more quantifiable. In the past 5-year progress was made in the prepping of gel, imagers of fluorescence, chemiluminescence, fluorescent antibodies as firms expended a large sum each year on the Western Blotting methodology. Traditional western blots could be finished with quick west kits in an hr. As these developments are important, in the last 5 years, the steps involved forward have been the emergence of non-conventional Western blotting ideas based mainly on microfluidic devices and electrophoresis (capillary). Micro fluidical systems significantly lower the duration of time and number of reagents and antibodies needed for western blotting. Those technologies are also able to adjust to high-performance systems. Whereas the coming years are smarter as Western blotting was ever seen, a few issues relating to non-equipment still have to be resolved. To prevent un-specific protein bonds and consequent misleading Western blot outcomes, the selection of the primary antibodies and its user verification through a control sample is crucial. Numerous specimens may not understand how to choose an ideal homogenized buffer and unskilled or incompetent scientists do not always recognise the exacerbating methodology of gathering information but often mischaracterize western blot outcomes.

Availability of data and materials

All data and materials are available upon request.



Sodium dodecyl sulphate


Polyvinylidene fluoride


Multiple antigen detection


Microchip electrophoresis


Thin-film direct coating with suction


Glutathion transferase


3 Cyclohexylamine-1-propane sulfonic acid


Polyethylene glycol


Square wave alternative voltage


Ethylenediamine tetracetic acid


Enhanced chemiluminescence


Sequential lateral flow




Human lymphotrophic retroviruses


Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay


Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis


Pneumococal vaccination


Farmer’s lung disease




Matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization


  1. Vallejo-Illarramendi A, Marciano DK, Reichardt LF (2013) A novel method that improves sensitivity of protein detection in PAGE and Western blot. Electrophoresis 34(8):1148–1150

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  2. He M, Herr AE (2010) Polyacrylamide gel photopatterning enables automated protein immunoblotting in a two-dimensional microdevice. J Am Chem Soc 132(8):2512–2513

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Murphy RM, Lamb GD (2013) Important considerations for protein analyses using antibody-based techniques: down-sizing Western blotting up-sizes outcomes. J Physiol 591(23):5823–5831

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Kurien BT, Scofield RH (2015) Other notable protein blotting methods: a brief review. Methods Mol Biol 1312:487–503

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Bass JJ, Wilkinson DJ, Rankin D et al (2017) An overview of technical considerations for Western blotting applications to physiological research. Scand J Med Sci Sports 27(1):4–25

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Janes KA (2015) An analysis of critical factors for quantitative immunoblotting. Sci Signal 8(371):rs2

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Ghosh R, Gilda JE, Gomes AV (2014) The necessity of and strategies for improving confidence in the accuracy of western blots. Expert Rev Proteom 11(5):549–560

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Aebersold RH, Pipes GD, Nika H, Hood LE, Kent SB (1988) Covalent immobilization of proteins for high-sensitivity sequence analysis: electroblotting onto chemically activated glass from sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels. Biochemistry 27(18):6860–6867

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Jin S, Furtaw MD, Chen H et al (2016) Multiplexed western blotting using microchip electrophoresis. Anal Chem 88(13):6703–6710

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. Krajewski SS, Tsukamoto MM, Huang X, Krajewski SB (2015) Nonstripping “Rainbow” and multiple antigen detection (MAD) western blotting. Methods Mol Biol 1314:287–301

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. He M, Herr AE (2010) Automated microfluidic protein immunoblotting. Nat Protoc 5(11):1844–1856

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Duncombe TA, Kang CC, Maity S et al (2016) Hydrogel pore-size modulation for enhanced single-cell western blotting. Adv Mater 28(2):327–334

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Kang CC, Yamauchi KA, Vlassakis J, Sinkala E, Duncombe TA, Herr AE (2016) Single cell-resolution western blotting. Nat Protoc 11(8):1508–1530

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. Treindl F, Ruprecht B, Beiter Y et al (2016) A bead-based western for high-throughput cellular signal transduction analyses. Nat Commun 7:12852

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  15. Liu CY, Lu DC, Jiang YW, Yen YK, Chang SC, Wang AB (2016) Easy and fast western blotting by thin-film direct coating with suction. Anal Chem 88(12):6349–6356

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Bio-Rad (2020) Trans-Blot® Turbo™ transfer system. Accessed 10 Sep 2020

  17. Kilmer G, Webb B, Dworecki BR, Hommema E, Rangaraj P (2013) Optimized method for rapid protein electroblotting. Nat Methods 10:1–2

    Google Scholar 

  18. Kurien BT, Scofield RH (2006) Western blotting. Methods 38(4):283–293

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Jadwin JA, Mayer BJ, Machida K (2015) Detection and quantification of protein–protein interactions by far-western blotting. Methods Mol Biol 1312:379–398

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Ye F, Smith PB, Changfeng Wu, Chiu DT (2013) Ultrasensitive detection of proteins on western blots with semiconducting polymer dots. Macromol Rapid Commun 34(9):785–790

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Zeng C, Suzuki Y, Alpert E (1990) Polyethylene glycol significantly enhances the transfer of membrane immunoblotting. Anal Biochem 189(2):197–201

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Kurien BT, Scofield RH (2009) A brief review of other notable protein blotting methods. Methods Mol Biol 536:367–384

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Bienvenut WV, Deon C, Sanchez JC, Hochstrasser DF (2002) Enhanced protein recovery after electrotransfer using square wave alternating voltage. Anal Biochem 307(2):297–303

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Sasse J, Gallagher SR (2008) Detection of proteins on blot transfer membranes. Current protocols in immunology, Chapter 8, Unit 8 10B

  25. Harper S, Speicher DW (2001) Detection of proteins on blot membranes. Current protocols in protein science, Chapter 10, Unit 10 18

  26. Wise GE, Lin F (1991) Transfer of silver-stained proteins from polyacrylamide gels to polyvinylidene difluoride membranes. J Biochem Biophys Methods 22(3):223–231

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Wang MS, Pang JS, Selsted ME (1997) Semidry electroblotting of peptides and proteins from acid-urea polyacrylamide gels. Anal Biochem 253(2):225–230

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Kurien BT, Scofield RH (2009) Ultrarapid electrophoretic transfer of high and low molecular weight proteins using heat. Methods Mol Biol 536:181–190 ([PubMed: 19378057])

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Kurien BT, Scofield RH (2002) Heat-mediated, ultra-rapid electrophoretic transfer of high and low molecular weight proteins to nitrocellulose membranes. J Immunol Methods 266(1–2):127–133

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Burkhart WA, Moyer MB, Bailey JM, Miller CG (1996) Electroblotting of proteins to Teflon tape and membranes for N- and C-terminal sequence analysis. Anal Biochem 236(2):364–367

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Kain SR, Mai K, Sinai P (1994) Human multiple tissue western blots: a new immunological tool for the analysis of tissue-specific protein expression. Biotechniques 17(5):982–987

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Freeman JW, Chatterjee A, Busch H (1985) Discrimination of epitopes identified by monoclonal antibodies by competitive binding to nitrocellulose bound antigens. J Immunol Methods 78(2):259–265

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Baillod P, Affolter B, Kurt GH, Pflugshaupt R (1992) Multimeric analysis of von Willebrand factor by vertical sodium dodecyl sulphate agarose gel electrophoresis, vacuum blotting technology and sensitive visualization by alkaline phosphatase anti-alkaline phosphatase complex. Thromb Res 66(6):745–755

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Spurr-Michaud S, Argueso P, Gipson I (2007) Assay of mucins in human tear fluid. Exp Eye Res 84(5):939–950

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  35. Hicks SJ, Carrington SD, Kaswan RL, Adam S, Bara J, Corfield AP (1997) Demonstration of discrete secreted and membrane-bound ocular mucins in the dog. Exp Eye Res 64(4):597–607

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Keeton TP, Francis BR, Maaty WS, Bulla LA Jr (1998) Effects of midgut-protein- preparative and ligand binding procedures on the toxin binding characteristics of BT-R1, a common high-affinity receptor in Manduca sexta for Cry1A Bacillus thuringiensis toxins. Appl Environ Microbiol 64(6):2158–2165

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  37. Peferoen M, Huybrechts R, Loof AD (1982) Vacuum-blotting: a new simple and efficient transfer of proteins from sodium dodecyl sulfate—polyacrylamide gels to nitrocellulose. FEBS Lett 145(2):369–372

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Okita N, Higami Y, Fukai F (2017) Modified western blotting for insulin and other diabetes-associated peptide hormones. Sci Rep 7(1):6949

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  39. Olsen I, Wiker HG (2015) Diffusion blotting: a rapid and simple method for production of multiple blots from a single gel. Methods Mol Biol 1312:73–76

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Lin WW, Chen IJ, Cheng TC et al (2016) A secondary antibody-detecting molecular weight marker with mouse and rabbit IgG Fc linear epitopes for western blot analysis. PLoS ONE 11(8):e0160418

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  41. Tsang VC, Hancock K, Simons AR (1984) Calibration of prestained protein molecular weight standards for use in the “Western” or enzyme-linked immunoelectrotransfer blot techniques. Anal Biochem 143(2):304–307

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Chang M, Hsu HY, Lee HJ (2005) Dye-free protein molecular weight markers. Electrophoresis 26(16):3062–3068

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Bischof DF, Hardmeier S, Fairhead M, Ihssen J, Thony-Meyer L (2011) Heme ladder: a direct molecular weight marker for immunoblot analysis. Anal Biochem 409(2):213–219

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Zhang YM, Geng L, Huang DW (2009) Generate western blot protein marker from a single construct. Anal Biochem 390(2):206–208

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. Kao CH, Cheng CM, Chuang KH et al (2012) A regularly spaced and self-revealing protein ladder for anti-tag Western blot analysis. Anal Biochem 431(1):1–3

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. Gorg A, Weiss W, Dunn MJ (2004) Current two-dimensional electrophoresis technology for proteomics. Proteomics 4(12):3665–3685 ([PubMed: 15543535])

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Scaife C, McManus CA, Donoghue PM, Dunn MJ (2015) Co-detection of target and total protein by CyDye labeling and fluorescent ECL plex immunoblotting in a standard proteomics workflow. Methods Mol Biol 1314:139–149 ([PubMed: 26139262])

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Hughes AJ, Herr AE (2012) 10-minute Western blotting with 54-plex throughput for clinical confirmatory HIV diagnosis in human serum. In: 16th international conference on miniaturized systems for chemistry and life sciences 978-0-9798064-5-2μTAS 2012/$20©12CBMS-0001, Okinawa, Japan.

  49. Thermofisher scientific. Two devices, one simple technology for automated western blot processing. Accessed 27 Feb 2021

  50. Precision biosystems. Doing Westerns? Up your game! Accessed 27 Feb 2021

  51. Merck. SNAP i.d.® 2.0 Protein detection system. Accessed 27 Feb 2021

  52. Zulfiqar HF, Javed A, Afroze B et al (2017) HIV diagnosis and treatment through advanced technologies. Front Public Health 5:32

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  53. Kang CC, Lin JM, Xu Z, Kumar S, Herr AE (2014) Single-cell Western blotting after whole-cell imaging to assess cancer chemotherapeutic response. Anal Chem 86(20):10429–10436

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  54. Torian LV, Forgione LA, Punsalang AE, Pirillo RE, Oleszko WR (2011) Comparison of multispot EIA with Western blot for confirmatory serodiagnosis of HIV. J Clin Virol 52(Suppl 1):S41-44

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  55. Hughes AJ, Spelke DP, Xu Z, Kang CC, Schaffer DV, Herr AE (2014) Single-cell western blotting. Nat Methods 11(7):749–755

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  56. Bernardini G, Figura N, Ponzetto A, Marzocchi B, Santucci A (2017) Application of proteomics to the study of Helicobacter pylori and implications for the clinic. Expert Rev Proteom 14(6):477–490

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  57. Hamm M, Ha S, Rustandi RR (2015) Automated capillary Western dot blot method for the identity of a 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Anal Biochem 478:33–39

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  58. Aslan M, Yuksel P, Polat E et al (2011) The diagnostic value of Western blot method in patients with cystic echinococcosis. New Microbiol 34(2):173–177

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  59. Magi B, Migliorini L (2011) Western blotting for the diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis. New Microbiol 34(1):93–95

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  60. Stopiglia CD, Arechavala A, Carissimi M et al (2012) Standardization and characterization of antigens for the diagnosis of aspergillosis. Can J Microbiol 58(4):455–462

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  61. Rognon B, Reboux G, Roussel S et al (2015) Western blotting as a tool for the serodiagnosis of farmer’s lung disease: validation with Lichtheimia corymbifera protein extracts. J Med Microbiol 64(Pt 4):359–368

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  62. Patil S, Giribhattanavar P, Patil M, Kumar K (2015) Immunoconfirmation of central nervous system tuberculosis by blotting: a study of 300 cases. Int J Mycobacteriol 4(2):124–130

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  63. Capobiango JD, Monica TC, Ferreira FP et al (2016) Evaluation of the Western blotting method for the diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis. J Pediatr (Rio J) 92(6):616–623

    Google Scholar 

  64. Perenha-Viana MC, Gonzales IA, Brockelt SR, Machado LN, Svidzinski TI (2012) Serological diagnosis of paracoccidioidomycosis through a Western blot technique. Clin Vaccine Immunol 19(4):616–619

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  65. Schupbach J, Popovic M, Gilden RV, Gonda MA, Sarngadharan MG, Gallo RC (1984) Serological analysis of a subgroup of human T-lymphotropic retroviruses (HTLV-III) associated with AIDS. Science 224(4648):503–505

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  66. Oliva A, Flori P, Hennequin C et al (2015) Evaluation of the Aspergillus Western blot IgG kit for diagnosis of chronic aspergillosis. J Clin Microbiol 53(1):248–254

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  67. Taylor SC, Posch A (2014) The design of a quantitative western blot experiment. BioMed Research International

  68. Glatter T, Ahrne E, Schmidt A (2015) Comparison of different sample preparation protocols reveals lysis buffer-specific extraction biases in gram-negative bacteria and human cells. J Proteome Res 14(11):4472–4485

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  69. Murphy RM, Mollica JP, Lamb GD (2009) Plasma membrane removal in rat skeletal muscle fibers reveals caveolin-3 hot-spots at the necks of transverse tubules. Exp Cell Res 315(6):1015–1028

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  70. Cui Z, Hwang SM, Gomes AV (2014) Identification of the immunoproteasome as a novel regulator of skeletal muscle differentiation. Mol Cell Biol 34(1):96–109

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  71. Reardon S (2016) US government issues historic $3.5-million fine over animal welfare. Nature.

  72. Wikan N, Suputtamongkol Y, Yoksan S, Smith DR, Auewarakul P (2016) Immunological evidence of Zika virus transmission in Thailand. Asian Pac J Trop Med 9(2):141–144

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  73. Bell G (2016) Quantifying western blots: none more black. BMC Biol 14(1):116

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  74. Liu X, Wang Y, Yang W, Guan Z, Yu W, Liao DJ (2016) Protein multiplicity can lead to misconduct in western blotting and misinterpretation of immunohistochemical staining results, creating much conflicting data. Prog Histochem Cytochem 51(3–4):51–58

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


Not applicable.


This whole investigation did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



KKS and AG conceptualized, designed and wrote the manuscript. CB and HS revised the manuscript with major changes as required. All authors have read and approved the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Charu Bharti.

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors report no competing interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Singh, K.K., Gupta, A., Bharti, C. et al. Emerging techniques of western blotting for purification and analysis of protein. Futur J Pharm Sci 7, 239 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Western blotting
  • Proteins
  • Analysis
  • Purification
  • Advancement
  • Peptides