The rate of protein digestion imposes significant limitations on high-throughput protein identification using mass spectrometry. In this report, we demonstrate that proteins are readily digested by trypsin in the presence of organic solvents such as methanol, acetone, 2-propanol, and acetonitrile. The rates of protein digestion in organic solvents, as indicated by the abundances of digest fragment ions in the mass spectrum, are increased relative to aqueous solution. In addition, amino acid coverage for the analyzed proteins increases in the presence of the organic solvents, and proteins that are resistant to proteolysis are readily digested. For example, a 68% amino acid sequence coverage was attained from a tryptic digest of myoglobin in <5 min from an 80% acetonitrile solution, whereas no digest fragments were detected from a 5 min digestion in an aqueous solution. Moreover, the tryptic digestion of a complex protein mixture in an organic-aqueous solvent system showed significantly enhanced digestion for nearly all of the protein components. Enzymatic digestion in an organic-aqueous solvent system is a rapid, simple, and effective peptide mass-mapping technique.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry