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Anal Chem. 2004 Jul 15;76(14):4193-201.

A model for random sampling and estimation of relative protein abundance in shotgun proteomics.

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Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Proteomic analysis of complex protein mixtures using proteolytic digestion and liquid chromatography in combination with tandem mass spectrometry is a standard approach in biological studies. Data-dependent acquisition is used to automatically acquire tandem mass spectra of peptides eluting into the mass spectrometer. In more complicated mixtures, for example, whole cell lysates, data-dependent acquisition incompletely samples among the peptide ions present rather than acquiring tandem mass spectra for all ions available. We analyzed the sampling process and developed a statistical model to accurately predict the level of sampling expected for mixtures of a specific complexity. The model also predicts how many analyses are required for saturated sampling of a complex protein mixture. For a yeast-soluble cell lysate 10 analyses are required to reach a 95% saturation level on protein identifications based on our model. The statistical model also suggests a relationship between the level of sampling observed for a protein and the relative abundance of the protein in the mixture. We demonstrate a linear dynamic range over 2 orders of magnitude by using the number of spectra (spectral sampling) acquired for each protein.

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