Recognition and manipulation of graphene edges enable the control of physical properties of graphene-based devices. Recently, the authors have identified a peptide that preferentially binds to graphene edges from a combinatorial peptide library. In this study, the authors examine the functional basis for the edge binding peptide using experimental and computational methods. The effect of amino acid substitution, sequence context, and solution pH value on the binding of the peptide to graphene has been investigated. The N-terminus glutamic acid residue plays a key role in recognizing and binding to graphene edges. The protonation, substitution, and positional context of the glutamic acid residue impact graphene edge-binding. Our findings provide insights into the binding mechanisms and the design of peptides for recognizing and functionalizing graphene edges.