Proteins are biopolymers consisting of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Proteins are comprised of 20 naturally occurring L-amino acids, and differ from each other based on the sequence of amino acids present. The sequence of the amino acids also determines the structure and function of a particular protein. Proteins have many functions in biology including catalysing reactions, DNA replication, responding to stimuli, and as molecular transporters. For this reason, protein research is critical to understanding biological systems.
Recently, proteomics, the large scale study of proteins and their structures and functions, has emerged as a key area of research interest. The common work flow in proteomics research is extraction of proteins from biological samples, separation by gel electrophoresis, protein digestion, followed by mass spectrometry analysis. Analysis includes identification, characterization and quantification of the proteins of interest. One of the most important proteomics research areas is identifying post translational modifications and protein folding/precipitation studies. Protein modifications and folding are critical for understanding how protein activity is regulated.