Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 76, Issue 6, pp 1223-1243

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The state of the art in the analysis of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis images

  • Matthias BerthAffiliated withDECODON GmbH
  • , Frank Michael MoserAffiliated withDECODON GmbH
  • , Markus KolbeAffiliated withDECODON GmbH
  • , Jörg BernhardtAffiliated withDECODON GmbHInstitute of Microbiology, Greifswald University Email author 


Software-based image analysis is a crucial step in the biological interpretation of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis experiments. Recent significant advances in image processing methods combined with powerful computing hardware have enabled the routine analysis of large experiments. We cover the process starting with the imaging of 2-D gels, quantitation of spots, creation of expression profiles to statistical expression analysis followed by the presentation of results. Challenges for analysis software as well as good practices are highlighted. We emphasize image warping and related methods that are able to overcome the difficulties that are due to varying migration positions of spots between gels. Spot detection, quantitation, normalization, and the creation of expression profiles are described in detail. The recent development of consensus spot patterns and complete expression profiles enables one to take full advantage of statistical methods for expression analysis that are well established for the analysis of DNA microarray experiments. We close with an overview of visualization and presentation methods (proteome maps) and current challenges in the field.


2-D gel electrophoresis Image analysis Proteome maps Warping Statistics