N-terminal Protein Sequencing, also known as Edman degradation, involves the sequential cleavage of amino acids from the N-terminal end of a protein, and identification of individual amino acids using microbore HPLC. A single cycle will identify a single amino acid, and sequential cleavage will determine the amino acid sequence.
Improvements in this field have allowed minute quantities of purified protein / peptides to be easily sequenced, assuming the protein is pure, not blocked and 100% sequenceable. Protein Sequencing can now be routinely used as an analytical tool in life science research. Sequencing about 12 residues can be sufficient for protein identification, if the protein is already in one of the many databases.
However, post-translational modifications to the peptide molecules may cause protein samples to be blocked at the N-terminal. As such, MALDI-TOF/TOF would provide a good alternative in Protein Identification.
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