Cast your protein gels with ease

(See a list of the products featured in this article.)

Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE)—an important technique for separating proteins based on their electrophoretic mobility—is widely used for both protein analysis and protein purification. To prepare a polyacrylamide gel, polymerization catalysts (e.g., TEMED and APS) are added to a solution of acrylamide/bisacrylamide, which is immediately poured between two glass plates separated by spacers and subsequently polymerizes into a solid gel. One major challenge in casting these gels is leakage of this toxic acrylamide solution out of the glass-plate sandwich before polymerization occurs. This leakage can be caused by multiple factors, including worn spacers, uneven pressure in the gel holder, and breakage of the glass plates. The Invitrogen™ SureCast™ Gel Handcast System (Figure 1) features innovative design elements that make casting protein gels easier and more efficient than ever before. These design elements include:

  • A leak-free* design, which minimizes the number of failed gels and wastes less time
  • Simple component assembly that uses a single-motion load-and-lock mechanism
  • A unique tilt feature, which minimizes spillage during pouring of acrylamide solutions
  • Superior glass plates, specifically developed to maximize durability
SureCast Gel Handcast System


Figure 1. The complete SureCast Gel Handcast System. The SureCast™ Gel Handcast System is available in convenient hardware bundles—including casting stations, glass plates, spacers, and multi-use tools—with and without reagents.

Unique leak-free design

One problem with current protein gel casting systems is the use of two to three separate spacers in the glass-plate sandwich. If these spacers are not placed in exactly the right positions on the plates, the seal of the sandwich can be compromised and the gel solution will leak out before it has time to polymerize. The SureCast Gel Handcast System uses a single U-shaped spacer (Figure 2A) that provides a continuous barrier around the bottom and sides of the plates, allowing it to be placed in the correct position every time. The SureCast system has been designed to be 100% leak free throughout the casting process.

Additionally, the SureCast Gel Handcast Station features an innovative load-and-lock mechanism that securely seals the glass plates by evenly distributing force all along the sealing edges (Figure 2B), in contrast to other commercially available chambers that provide force only on the sides of the plates. The SureCast Gel Handcast Station also stabilizes the gel assembly while the acrylamide solution is poured, with the added benefit of reducing the formation of bubbles.

SureCast™ Glass Plates are unlike any glass plates used in casting systems today. These plates are thicker and more damage-resistant than other manufacturers’ plates, enabling more gels to be cast and run over the lifetime of the plates. However, it is not only the strength of the glass plates that contributes to the system’s leak-free abilities: the sealing area is specifically designed to minimize the effects of any damage to the edges of the glass plates. When coupled with the even-sealing mechanism of the SureCast Gel Handcast Station, these durable glass plates ensure that minor cracks or chips will not impact the sealing ability of the SureCast system.

Figure 2. SureCast Gel Handcast System’s leak-free design.(A) Gel sandwich using a single U-shaped spacer, from the SureCast™ Gel Handcast System. (B) Load-and-lock mechanism of the SureCast Gel Handcast System.

Choose the right system

The complete SureCast Gel Handcast System includes the hardware along with a set of SureCast reagents that offer superior storage, safety, and convenience when compared with other commercially available solutions. Also available separately, these SureCast reagents have long shelf lives (up to 2 years) and can be safely stored at room temperature. Convenient starter and combo bundles containing all hardware and reagents are available.

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