A Computer Program to Compare Sequence Fingerprints of Homologous Proteins for the Rapid Assessment of Their Primary Structure Differences

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Abstract

We have developed a computer program for the rapid assessment of the primary structure differences between a protein of unknown sequence and a homologous known protein. Both proteins are reduced, alkylated, and digested with the same hydrolytic agent. The unfractionated peptide mixtures are submitted to automatic sequence analysis. Based on the knowledge of the reference sequence, the program utilizes the analysis data to identify all the potential peptides present in the two mixtures, determining their primary structure, homology degree, and molecular weight calculated both as integer MH+ and average mass variables. These fingerprints allow the user to easily identify the structural differences between the two proteins and clarify possible doubts by a mass spectrometric analysis of the two mixtures. In order to verify the utility of the program, we provide an application example using the already reported data of two homologous proteins.

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