Ion-exchange high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC; on Ultropac TSK DEAE and CM) is compared with conventional soft-gel ion-exchange chromatography in identical peptide purifications. The results show that separating properties are similar, but as expected, ion-exchange HPLC has a much higher resolving capacity and a higher sensitivity, and allows a considerably shorter total separation time. The same buffer systems as for conventional ion-exchange chromatography can be used, including urea to solubilize large peptides, if care is taken not to exceed the pH limits set by the column matrix.

A complete purification scheme by HPLC in the nanomolar range, utilizing exclusion, ion-exchange, and reverse-phase chromatographies, is given with a complex peptide mixture from a digest of a large protein. Similar steps as in conventional soft-gel schemes can be utilized. It is concluded that ion-exchange HPLC is a suitable complement to commonly used reverse-phase HPLC steps and that it permits high speed and sensitivity over wide ranges of peptide sizes and amounts.

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