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J Proteome Res. 2012 Dec 7;11(12):5773-80. doi: 10.1021/pr300576s. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

Unipept: tryptic peptide-based biodiversity analysis of metaproteome samples.

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Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Laboratory for Protein Biochemistry and Biomolecular Engineering, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.


The Unipept web application ( supports biodiversity analysis of large and complex metaproteome samples using tryptic peptide information obtained from shotgun MS/MS experiments. Its underlying index structure is designed to quickly retrieve all occurrences of a tryptic peptide in UniProtKB records. Taxon-specificity of the tryptic peptide is successively derived from these occurrences using a novel lowest common ancestor approach that is robust against taxonomic misarrangements, misidentifications, and inaccuracies. Not taking into account this identification noise would otherwise result in drastic loss of information. Dynamic treemaps visualize the biodiversity of metaproteome samples, which eases the exploration of samples with highly complex compositions. The potential of Unipept to gain novel insights into the biodiversity of a sample is evaluated by reanalyzing publicly available metaproteome data sets taken from the bacterial phyllosphere and the human gut.

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