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SpecOMS: A Full Open Modification Search Method Performing All-to-All Spectra Comparisons within Minutes

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-06-29, 00:00 authored by Matthieu David, Guillaume Fertin, Hélène Rogniaux, Dominique Tessier
The analysis of discovery proteomics experiments relies on algorithms that identify peptides from their tandem mass spectra. The almost exhaustive interpretation of these spectra remains an unresolved issue. At present, an important number of missing interpretations is probably due to peptides displaying post-translational modifications and variants that yield spectra that are particularly difficult to interpret. However, the emergence of a new generation of mass spectrometers that provide high fragment ion accuracy has paved the way for more efficient algorithms. We present a new software, SpecOMS, that can handle the computational complexity of pairwise comparisons of spectra in the context of large volumes. SpecOMS can compare a whole set of experimental spectra generated by a discovery proteomics experiment to a whole set of theoretical spectra deduced from a protein database in a few minutes on a standard workstation. SpecOMS can ingeniously exploit those capabilities to improve the peptide identification process, allowing strong competition between all possible peptides for spectrum interpretation. Remarkably, this software resolves the drawbacks (i.e., efficiency problems and decreased sensitivity) that usually accompany open modification searches. We highlight this promising approach using results obtained from the analysis of a public human data set downloaded from the PRIDE (PRoteomics IDEntification) database.