High-throughput DNA sequencing has resulted in increasing input in protein sequence databases. Today more than 20 genomes have been sequenced and many more will be completed in the near future, including the largest of them all, the human genome. Presently, sequence databases contain entries for more than 425.000 protein sequences. However, the cellular functions are determined by the set of proteins expressed in the cell--the proteome. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, mass spectrometry and bioinformatics have become important tools in correlating the proteome with the genome. The current dominant strategies for identification of proteins from gels based on peptide mass spectrometric fingerprinting and partial sequencing by mass spectrometry are described. After identification of the proteins the next challenge in proteome analysis is characterization of their post-translational modifications. The general problems associated with characterization of these directly from gel separated proteins are described and the current state of art for the determination of phosphorylation, glycosylation and proteolytic processing is illustrated.
Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 2001, Vol 366, Issue 6-7, p. 677-90