Protein digestion: An overview of the available techniques and recent developments

L. Switzar, M. Giera, W.M.A. Niessen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Several proteomics approaches are available that are defined by the level (protein or peptide) at which analysis takes place. The most widely applied method still is bottom-up proteomics where the protein is digested into peptides that can be efficiently analyzed with a wide range of LC-MS or MALDI-TOF-MS instruments. Sample preparation for bottom-up proteomics experiments requires several treatment steps in order to get from the protein to the peptide level and can be very laborious. The most crucial step in such approaches is the protein digestion, which is often the bottleneck in terms of time consumption. Therefore, a significant gain in throughput may be obtained by speeding up the digestion process. Current techniques allow for reduction of the digestion time from overnight (∼15 h) to minutes or even seconds. This advancement also makes integration into online systems feasible, thereby reducing the number of tedious sample handling steps and the risk of sample loss. In this review, an overview is given of the currently available digestion strategies and recent developments in the acceleration of the digestion process. Additionally, tailored approaches for classes of proteins that pose specific challenges are discussed. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1067-1077
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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