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Protein Sequencing (Edman Degradation)

Edman Sequencer

The protein is reacted with the Edman reagent (phenylisothiocyanate, PITC) which modifies the N-terminus and the side-chains of Lys residues.

Under controlled conditions, the N-terminal residue is released and converted to the phenylthiohydantoin (PTH) derivative which is identified by HPLC. Successive cycles of chemistry provide the N-terminal sequence of the protein. Some eukaryotic proteins are blocked at the N-terminus by acetylation and are therefore unable to be sequenced directly by this method. N-termini may also become blocked by chemical reactions such as carbamylation.

Sample Preparation

  • Protein from reverse-phase HPLC or electroblotted onto PVDF.
  • We recommend blocking the protein's thiols with iodoacetic acid if Cys is to be detected directly.
  • The appropriate amount of protein is 2 to 100 pmol.


The protein is immobilised on a PVDF membrane or TFA-treated filter. Sequencing is then performed automatically for the agreed number of cycles.

Applied Biosystems Procise Sequencer (model 492) attached to a model 140C HPLC system with a model 785A absorbance detector operated under the control of 610A software.

Data Analysis

Chromatograms from each cycle and a report are provided, describing the analysis undertaken and the deduced sequence(s). The report is either provided as hardcopy or sent by email, as Word document.

Adelaide Proteomics Centre

Level 1
Molecular Life Science Building
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005

Location and map


T: +61 8 8313 5497