A critical step in the bottom-up characterization of proteomes is the conversion of proteins to peptides, by means of endoprotease digestion. Nowadays this method typically uses overnight digestion and as such represents a considerable bottleneck for high-throughput analysis. This report describes protein digestion using an immobilized-enzyme reactor (IMER), which enables accelerated digestion times that are completed within seconds to minutes. For rapid digestion to occur, a cyclic-olefin-copolymer microfluidic reactor was constructed containing trypsin immobilized on a polymer monolithic material through a 2-vinyl-4,4-dimethylazlactone linker. The IMER was applied for the rapid offline digestion of both singular protein standards and a complex protein mixture prior to liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) analysis. The effects of protein concentration and residence time in the IMER were assessed for protein standards of varying molecular weight between 11 and 240 kDa. Compared to traditional in-solution digestion, IMER-facilitated protein digestion at room temperature for 5 min yielded similar results in terms of sequence coverage and number of identified peptides. Good repeatability was demonstrated with a relative standard deviation of 6% for protein sequence coverage. The potential of the IMER was also demonstrated for a complex protein mixture in the analysis of dried blood spots. Compared to a traditional workflow a similar number of proteins could be identified, while reducing the total analysis time from 22.5 h to 4h and importantly omitting the sample-pre-treatment steps (denaturation, reduction, and alkylation). The identified proteins from two workflows showed similar distributions in terms of molecular weight and hydrophobic character. (C) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
StatePublished - 31 Mar 2017

    Research areas

  • Proteome, Digestion, Trypsin, Polymer monolith, Mass Spectrometry, Bottom-up, Porous Polymer Monolith, Liquid-Chromatography, Proteolytic Digestion, Microreactor, Separation, Capillary, Electrophoresis

ID: 31542331