This paper describes a new analytical strategy for identifying proteins in concentration flux based on isotopic labeling peptides in tryptic digests. Primary amino groups in peptides from control and experimental samples were derivatized with acetate and trideuteroacetate, respectively. After mixing samples thus labeled from these two sources, the relative concentration of peptides was determined by isotope ratio analysis with MALDI and ESI mass spectrometry. More than a 100-fold difference in relative concentration could be detected. Simplification of complex tryptic digests prior to mass spectral analysis was achieved by selection of histidine-containing peptides with immobilized metal affinity sorbents or of glycopeptides by lectin columns. Because most of these peptides have sequences that are unique to a single protein, they are a signature of the protein from which they were derived; providing a facile route to protein analysis.