A novel two-dimensional liquid-phase separation method was developed that is capable of resolving large numbers of cellular proteins. The proteins are separated by pI using isoelectric focusing in the first dimension and by hydrophobicity using nonporous reversed-phase HPLC in the second dimension (IEF-NP RP HPLC). Proteins were mapped using original software in order to create a protein pattern analogous to that of the 2-D PAGE image. RP HPLC peaks are represented by bands of different intensity in the 2-D image, according to the intensity of the peaks eluting from the HPLC. Each peak was collected as the eluent of the HPLC separation in the liquid phase. The proteins collected were identified using proteolytic enzymes, MALDI-TOF MS and MSFit database searching. Using IEF-NP RP HPLC, approximately 700 bands were resolved in a pI range from 3.2 to 9.5 and 38 different proteins with molecular weights ranging from 12,000 to 75,000 were identified. In comparison to a 2-D gel separation of the same human erythroleukemia cell line lysate, the IEF-NP RP HPLC produced improved resolution of low mass and basic proteins. In addition, the proteins remained in the liquid phase throughout the separation, thus making the entire procedure highly amenable to automation and high throughput. It is demonstrated that IEF-NP RP HPLC provides a viable alternative to the 2-D gel separation method for the screening of protein profiles.