A new matrix-assisted laser-desorption/ionization time-of-flight/time-of-flight mass spectrometer with the novel "LIFT" technique (MALDI LIFT-TOF/TOF MS) is described. This instrument provides high sensitivity (attomole range) for peptide mass fingerprints (PMF). It is also possible to analyze fragment ions generated by any one of three different modes of dissociation: laser-induced dissociation (LID) and high-energy collision-induced dissociation (CID) as real MS/MS techniques and in-source decay in the reflector mode of the mass analyzer (reISD) as a pseudo-MS/MS technique. Fully automated operation including spot picking from 2D gels, in-gel digestion, sample preparation on MALDI plates with hydrophilic/hydrophobic spot profiles and spectrum acquisition/processing lead to an identification rate of 66% after the PMF was obtained. The workflow control software subsequently triggered automated acquisition of multiple MS/MS spectra. This information, combined with the PMF increased the identification rate to 77%, thus providing data that allowed protein modifications and sequence errors in the protein sequence database to be detected. The quality of the MS/MS data allowed for automated de novo sequencing and protein identification based on homology searching.