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Open Access Technical Note

ProteinTracker: an application for managing protein production and purification

Stefan C Ponko1* and David Bienvenue2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, University of Washington, 850 Republican, Seattle, WA, 98109, USA

2 VLST Inc, 307 Westlake Avenue North, Seattle, WA, 98109, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:224  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-224

Published: 10 May 2012

Abstract

Background

Laboratories that produce protein reagents for research and development face the challenge of deciding whether to track batch-related data using simple file based storage mechanisms (e.g. spreadsheets and notebooks), or commit the time and effort to install, configure and maintain a more complex laboratory information management system (LIMS). Managing reagent data stored in files is challenging because files are often copied, moved, and reformatted. Furthermore, there is no simple way to query the data if/when questions arise. Commercial LIMS often include additional modules that may be paid for but not actually used, and often require software expertise to truly customize them for a given environment.

Findings

This web-application allows small to medium-sized protein production groups to track data related to plasmid DNA, conditioned media samples (supes), cell lines used for expression, and purified protein information, including method of purification and quality control results. In addition, a request system was added that includes a means of prioritizing requests to help manage the high demand of protein production resources at most organizations. ProteinTracker makes extensive use of existing open-source libraries and is designed to track essential data related to the production and purification of proteins.

Conclusions

ProteinTracker is an open-source web-based application that provides organizations with the ability to track key data involved in the production and purification of proteins and may be modified to meet the specific needs of an organization. The source code and database setup script can be downloaded from http://sourceforge.net/projects/proteintracker webcite. This site also contains installation instructions and a user guide. A demonstration version of the application can be viewed at http://www.proteintracker.org webcite.

Keywords:
Protein; Production; Purification; Reagent; Tracking; Prioritization; Web; Application