Isotope pattern vector based tandem mass spectral data calibration for improved peptide and protein identification



Tandem mass spectra contain noisy peaks which make peak picking for peptide identification difficult. Moreover, all spectral peaks can be shifted due to systematic measurement errors. In this paper, a novel use of an isotope pattern vector (IPV) is proposed for denoising and systematic measurement error prediction. By matching the experimental IPVs with the theoretical IPVs of candidate fragment ions, true ionic peaks can be identified. Furthermore, these identified experimental IPVs and their corresponding theoretical IPVs are used in an optimization process to predict the systematic measurement error associated with the target spectrum. In return, the subsequent spectral data calibration based on the predicted systematic measurement error enhances the data quality. We show that such an integrated denoising and calibration process leads to significantly improved peptide and protein identification. Different from the commonly employed chemical calibration methods, our IPV-based method is a purely computational method for individual spectra analysis and globally optimizes the use of spectral data. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.