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Improving Sensitivity in Shotgun Proteomics Using a Peptide-Centric Database with Reduced Complexity:  Protease Cleavage and SCX Elution Rules from Data Mining of MS/MS Spectra

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posted on 15.02.2006, 00:00 by Chia-Yu Yen, Steve Russell, Alex M. Mendoza, Karen Meyer-Arendt, Shaojun Sun, Krzysztof J. Cios, Natalie G. Ahn, Katheryn A. Resing
Correct identification of a peptide sequence from MS/MS data is still a challenging research problem, particularly in proteomic analyses of higher eukaryotes where protein databases are large. The scoring methods of search programs often generate cases where incorrect peptide sequences score higher than correct peptide sequences (referred to as distraction). Because smaller databases yield less distraction and better discrimination between correct and incorrect assignments, we developed a method for editing a peptide-centric database (PC-DB) to remove unlikely sequences and strategies for enabling search programs to utilize this peptide database. Rules for unlikely missed cleavage and nontryptic proteolysis products were identified by data mining 11 849 high-confidence peptide assignments. We also evaluated ion exchange chromatographic behavior as an editing criterion to generate subset databases. When used to search a well-annotated test data set of MS/MS spectra, we found no loss of critical information using PC-DBs, validating the methods for generating and searching against the databases. On the other hand, improved confidence in peptide assignments was achieved for tryptic peptides, measured by changes in ΔCN and RSP. Decreased distraction was also achieved, consistent with the 3−9-fold decrease in database size. Data mining identified a major class of common nonspecific proteolytic products corresponding to leucine aminopeptidase (LAP) cleavages. Large improvements in identifying LAP products were achieved using the PC-DB approach when compared with conventional searches against protein databases. These results demonstrate that peptide properties can be used to reduce database size, yielding improved accuracy and information capture due to reduced distraction, but with little loss of information compared to conventional protein database searches.