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Bioinformatics. 2006 Jul 15;22(14):e481-8.

A computational approach toward label-free protein quantification using predicted peptide detectability.

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School of Informatics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.


We propose here a new concept of peptide detectability which could be an important factor in explaining the relationship between a protein's quantity and the peptides identified from it in a high-throughput proteomics experiment. We define peptide detectability as the probability of observing a peptide in a standard sample analyzed by a standard proteomics routine and argue that it is an intrinsic property of the peptide sequence and neighboring regions in the parent protein. To test this hypothesis we first used publicly available data and data from our own synthetic samples in which quantities of model proteins were controlled. We then applied machine learning approaches to demonstrate that peptide detectability can be predicted from its sequence and the neighboring regions in the parent protein with satisfactory accuracy. The utility of this approach for protein quantification is demonstrated by peptides with higher detectability generally being identified at lower concentrations over those with lower detectability in the synthetic protein mixtures. These results establish a direct link between protein concentration and peptide detectability. We show that for each protein there exists a level of peptide detectability above which peptides are detected and below which peptides are not detected in an experiment. We call this level the minimum acceptable detectability for identified peptides (MDIP) which can be calibrated to predict protein concentration. Triplicate analysis of a biological sample showed that these MDIP values are consistent among the three data sets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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