Trypsin is the most frequently used proteolytic enzyme in mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Beside its good availability, it also offers some major advantages such as an optimal average peptide length of ~14 amino acids, and typically the presence of at least two defined positive charges at the N-terminus as well as the C-terminal Arg/Lys, rendering tryptic peptides well suited for CID-based LC-MS/MS. Here, we conducted a systematic study of different types of commercially available trypsin in order to qualitatively and quantitatively compare cleavage specificity, efficiency as well as reproducibility and the potential impact on quantitation and proteome coverage. We present a straightforward strategy applied to complex digests of human platelets, comprising (1) digest controls using a monolithic column HPLC-setup, (2) SCX enrichment of semitryptic/nonspecific peptides, (3) targeted MRM analysis of corresponding full cleavage/missed cleavage peptide pairs as well as (4) LC-MS analyses of complete digests with a three-step data interpretation. Thus, differences in digest performance can be readily assessed, rendering these procedures extremely beneficial to quality control not only the trypsin of choice, but also to effectively compare as well as optimize different digestion conditions and to evaluate the reproducibility of a dedicated digest protocol for all kinds of quantitative proteome studies.
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