Accurate quantitation of phospholamban phosphorylation by immunoblot

Naa Adjeley Ablorh, Tyler Miller, Florentin Nitu, Simon J. Gruber, Christine Karim, David D. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We have developed a quantitative immunoblot method to measure the mole fraction of phospholamban (PLB) phosphorylated at Ser16 (Xp) in biological samples. In cardiomyocytes, PLB phosphorylation activates the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA), which reduces cytoplasmic Ca 2+ to relax the heart during diastole. Unphosphorylated PLB (uPLB) inhibits SERCA at low [Ca2+] but phosphorylated PLB (pPLB) is less inhibitory, so myocardial physiology and pathology depend critically on X p. Current methods of Xp determination by immunoblot provide moderate precision but poor accuracy. We have solved this problem using purified uPLB and pPLB standards produced by solid-phase peptide synthesis. In each assay, a pair of blots is performed with identical standards and unknowns using antibodies partially selective for uPLB and pPLB, respectively. When performed on mixtures of uPLB and pPLB, the assay measures both total PLB (tPLB) and Xp with accuracy of 96% or better. We assayed pig cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and found that Xp varied widely among four animals, from 0.08 to 0.38, but there was remarkably little variation in the ratios of Xp/tPLB and uPLB/SERCA, suggesting that PLB phosphorylation is tuned to maintain homeostasis in SERCA regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by Grants to D.D.T. (NIH GM27906 and NIH P30 AR057220), N-A.A. (NIH F31 HL090074), and S.J.G. (American Heart Association). This project used the excellent facilities of the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute and the Biophysical Spectroscopy Facility. We acknowledge Octavian Cornea for assistance in the preparation of the manuscript.


  • Heart failure
  • Phospholamban
  • Phosphorylation
  • Western blot


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