There are an increasing variety of applications in which peptides are both synthesized and used attached to solid surfaces. This has created a need for high throughput sequence analysis directly on surfaces. However, common sequencing approaches that can be adapted to surface bound peptides lack the throughput often needed in library-based applications. Here we describe a simple approach for sequence analysis directly on solid surfaces that is both high speed and high throughput, utilizing equipment available in most protein analysis facilities. In this approach, surface bound peptides, selectively labeled at their N-termini with a positive charge-bearing group, are subjected to controlled degradation in ammonia gas, resulting in a set of fragments differing by a single amino acid that remain spatially confined on the surface they were bound to. These fragments can then be analyzed by MALDI mass spectrometry, and the peptide sequences read directly from the resulting spectra.
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