Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Busting out (cells) all over

In keeping with the theme of Kyle's hilarious post, I'll throw in my own two cents. A couple of weeks ago some friends from the lab next door went to a Starbucks coffee tasting. It was one of the windiest, rainiest, nastiest nights in a while, so they apparently were the only ones there. By the way, the "Christmas Blend" is the same as the "Holiday Blend", in case you were wondering. Yes, the Starbucks people used a French press. The only nagging question I have is whether there is some cutesy urban legend about the connection between the coffee French press and the French press biologists use to gently crack open cells. Usually, when you want to recover a protein that you have manufactured in lab bacteria, you want a gentle method that won't damage your protein. You may also want to get at intact organelles, or something. In my very minimal protein purification experience, we would rapidly freeze, then thaw cells for a few cycles. For the proteomics I currently do, I use a Dounce homogenizer.
Here's a great basic reference for the ways to bust open cells.
Incidentally, I love Starbucks's eggnog lattes, but going to Starbucks in this town sometimes seems taboo, like you're getting your coffee from the man. Locals seem to prefer Small World coffee, and it's growing on me. Once Starbucks cans its seasonal beverage I might try to make the change permanent. (But yes, Jack, Halo Pub still makes the best mocha.) The Small World coffee tee shirt is one of the default gifts that grad students seem to get when they finish, regardless of whether they frequented the place or even whether they like coffee.

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At 9:39 PM, Blogger Jack said...

That's awesome. I was reading along thinking, "Where's the props to Halo Pub." And then it was there.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Jack said...

Also, the freeze thaw method was pioneered in the Hecht lab at Princeton.


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