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J Proteome Res. 2014 Apr 4;13(4):2069-79. doi: 10.1021/pr401206m. Epub 2014 Mar 24.

Systematic assessment of survey scan and MS2-based abundance strategies for label-free quantitative proteomics using high-resolution MS data.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York , Buffalo, NY 14260, United States.


Survey-scan-based label-free method have shown no compelling benefit over fragment ion (MS2)-based approaches when low-resolution mass spectrometry (MS) was used, the growing prevalence of high-resolution analyzers may have changed the game. This necessitates an updated, comparative investigation of these approaches for data acquired by high-resolution MS. Here, we compared survey scan-based (ion current, IC) and MS2-based abundance features including spectral-count (SpC) and MS2 total-ion-current (MS2-TIC), for quantitative analysis using various high-resolution LC/MS data sets. Key discoveries include: (i) study with seven different biological data sets revealed only IC achieved high reproducibility for lower-abundance proteins; (ii) evaluation with 5-replicate analyses of a yeast sample showed IC provided much higher quantitative precision and lower missing data; (iii) IC, SpC, and MS2-TIC all showed good quantitative linearity (R(2) > 0.99) over a >1000-fold concentration range; (iv) both MS2-TIC and IC showed good linear response to various protein loading amounts but not SpC; (v) quantification using a well-characterized CPTAC data set showed that IC exhibited markedly higher quantitative accuracy, higher sensitivity, and lower false-positives/false-negatives than both SpC and MS2-TIC. Therefore, IC achieved an overall superior performance than the MS2-based strategies in terms of reproducibility, missing data, quantitative dynamic range, quantitative accuracy, and biomarker discovery.

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