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Improving the Identification Rate of Endogenous Peptides Using Electron Transfer Dissociation and Collision-Induced Dissociation

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journal contribution
posted on 06.12.2013 by Eisuke Hayakawa, Gerben Menschaert, Pieter-Jan De Bock, Walter Luyten, Kris Gevaert, Geert Baggerman, Liliane Schoofs
Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) combined with bioinformatics tools have enabled fast and systematic protein identification based on peptide-to-spectrum matches. However, it remains challenging to obtain accurate identification of endogenous peptides, such as neuropeptides, peptide hormones, peptide pheromones, venom peptides, and antimicrobial peptides. Since these peptides are processed at sites that are difficult to predict reliably, the search of their MS/MS spectra in sequence databases needs to be done without any protease setting. In addition, many endogenous peptides carry various post-translational modifications, making it essential to take these into account in the database search. These characteristics of endogenous peptides result in a huge search space, frequently leading to poor confidence of the peptide characterizations in peptidomics studies. We have developed a new MS/MS spectrum search tool for highly accurate and confident identification of endogenous peptides by combining two different fragmentation methods. Our approach takes advantage of the combination of two independent fragmentation methods (collision-induced dissociation and electron transfer dissociation). Their peptide spectral matching is carried out separately in both methods, and the final score is built as a combination of the two separate scores. We demonstrate that this approach is very effective in discriminating correct peptide identifications from false hits. We applied this approach to a spectral data set of neuropeptides extracted from mouse pituitary tumor cells. Compared to conventional MS-based identification, i.e., using a single fragmentation method, our approach significantly increased the peptide identification rate. It proved also highly effective for scanning spectra against a very large search space, enabling more accurate genome-wide searches and searches including multiple potential post-translational modifications.