N-terminomics: a high-content screen for protease substrates and their cleavage sites

Methods Mol Biol. 2011;753:243-55. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-148-2_16.


Proteases play vital roles in many cellular processes and signaling cascades through specific limited cleavage of their targets. It is important to identify what proteins are substrates of proteases and where their cleavage sites are so as to reveal the molecular mechanisms and specificity of signaling. We have developed a method to achieve this goal using a strategy that chemically tags the substrate's alpha amine generated by proteolysis, enriches for tagged peptides, and identifies them using liquid chromatography-coupled tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Peptide MS/MS data are searched against a database to reveal what proteins are cleaved, whereby peptide N-termini demarcate sites of protease cleavage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Databases, Protein
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Peptides / analysis*
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Signal Transduction
  • Software
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods


  • Peptides
  • Proteins
  • Peptide Hydrolases