AAT Bioquest

What are the applications of proteinase K?

Posted May 19, 2023


Proteinase K is used extensively in a wide range of molecular biology applications and next generation sequencing (NGS) and microarray technologies. 

In molecular biology Proteinase K is used to: 

  • Digest proteins and remove contamination from nucleic acid preparations
  • Inactivate nucleases DNases and RNases that might otherwise degrade the DNA or RNA sample during purification
  • Obtain characteristic protein fragments to be used in determining the structure and function of proteins
  • Isolate highly native and undamaged DNA or RNA by rapidly inactivating mammalian and microbial DNases and RNases 
  • Specifically modify cell surface proteins in order to analyze membrane structures for protein localization
  • Digest tissue as an alternative option for preparing samples for quantitative analysis via liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry
  • Detect Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy proteins, which are uniquely resistant to proteolytic degradation.

In next generation sequencing (NGS) and microarray technologies, Proteinase K is used to: 

  • Inactivate nucleases and purify nucleic acid during the extraction of DNA and RNA from bacteria, yeast, and plant cell and mammalian cell lysates
  • Improve cloning efficiency of PCR products
  • Inactivate enzyme cocktails in ribonuclease protection assays
  • Prepare samples for quantifying DNA adduct levels using accelerator mass spectrometry
  • Optimize RNA yields from primary breast tumors for microarray studies 
Additional resources

Proteinase K resistant cores of prions and amyloids


Amplite® Universal Fluorimetric Protease Activity Assay Kit *Green Fluorescence*