An evaluation has been made of various strategies for obtaining internal amino acid sequence data from electrophoretically separated proteins. Electroblotting, in situ proteolysis and extraction, and direct electroelution are compared. Electroblotting of protein or peptides from gels resulted in poor yields (typically, 1-7%). However, higher yields (3-67%) were achieved by in situ enzymatic cleavage followed by acid extraction of the peptides from the gel. Peptides extracted from the gel were separated by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC), on short, small-bore columns (100 x 2.1 mm I.D.), to enable recovery of peptides in small volumes (ca. 50 microliters) suitable for microsequence analysis. Capillary zone electrophoresis under acidic conditions (pH 2.5) was used to assess peptide purity before sequence analysis. Cysteine residues were identified in unmodified proteins or peptides by a characteristic phenylthiohydantoin (PTH)-amino acid derivative during sequence analysis. This derivative does not co-chromatograph with any known PTH-amino acid. Direct electrophoretic elution of protein from gels yielded between 45-50% of applied protein. Proteins recovered from gels by electrophoretic elution required further purification by inverse-gradient RP-HPLC [R. J. Simpson, R. L. Moritz, E. C. Nice and B. Grego, Eur. J. Biochem., 165 (1987) 21] to remove sodium dodecylsulphate and acrylamide-related contaminants for sequence analysis.