Peptide-mass fingerprinting and the ideal covering set for protein characterisation

M J WiseI Humphery-Smith


The rules that govern the dynamics of protein characterisation by peptide-mass fingerprinting (PMF) were investigated through multiple interrogations of a nonredundant protein database. This was achieved by analysing the efficiency of identifying each entry in the entire database via perfect in silico digestion with a series of 20 pseudo-endoproteinases cutting at the carboxy terminal of each amino acid residue, and the multiple cutters: trypsin, chymotrypsin and Glu-C. The distribution of peptide fragment masses generated by endoproteinase digestion was examined with a view to designing better approaches to protein characterisation by PMF. On average, and for both common and rare cutters, the combination of approximately two fragments was sufficient to identify most database entries. However, the rare cutters left more entries unidentified in the database. Total coverage of the entire database could not be achieved with one enzymatic cutter alone, nor when all 23 cutters were used together. Peptide fragments of > 5000 Da had little effect on the outcome of PMF to correctly characterise database entries, while those with low mass (near to 350 Da in the case of trypsin) were found to be of most utility. The most frequently occur...Continue Reading


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