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Anal Chem. 2006 Nov 1;78(21):7397-409.

Robust algorithm for alignment of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses in an accurate mass and time tag data analysis pipeline.

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Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory and Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington 99352, USA.


Liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) has become a standard technique for analyzing complex peptide mixtures to determine composition and relative abundance. Several high-throughput proteomics techniques attempt to combine complementary results from multiple LC-MS and LC-MS/MS analyses to provide more comprehensive and accurate results. To effectively collate and use results from these techniques, variations in mass and elution time measurements between related analyses need to be corrected using algorithms designed to align the various types of data: LC-MS/MS versus LC-MS/MS, LC-MS versus LC-MS/MS, and LC-MS versus LC-MS. Described herein are new algorithms referred to collectively as liquid chromatography-based mass spectrometric warping and alignment of retention times of peptides (LCMSWARP), which use a dynamic elution time warping approach similar to traditional algorithms that correct for variations in LC elution times using piecewise linear functions. LCMSWARP is compared to the equivalent approach based upon linear transformation of elution times. LCMSWARP additionally corrects for temporal drift in mass measurement accuracies. We also describe the alignment of LC-MS results and demonstrate their application to the alignment of analyses from different chromatographic systems, showing the suitability of the present approach for more complex transformations.

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