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Reverse and Random Decoy Methods for False Discovery Rate Estimation in High Mass Accuracy Peptide Spectral Library Searches

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posted on 27.12.2017, 00:00 by Zheng Zhang, Meghan Burke, Yuri A. Mirokhin, Dmitrii V. Tchekhovskoi, Sanford P. Markey, Wen Yu, Raghothama Chaerkady, Sonja Hess, Stephen E. Stein
Spectral library searching (SLS) is an attractive alternative to sequence database searching (SDS) for peptide identification due to its speed, sensitivity, and ability to include any selected mass spectra. While decoy methods for SLS have been developed for low mass accuracy peptide spectral libraries, it is not clear that they are optimal or directly applicable to high mass accuracy spectra. Therefore, we report the development and validation of methods for high mass accuracy decoy libraries. Two types of decoy libraries were found to be suitable for this purpose. The first, referred to as Reverse, constructs spectra by reversing a library’s peptide sequences except for the C-terminal residue. The second, termed Random, randomly replaces all non-C-terminal residues and either retains the original C-terminal residue or replaces it based on the amino-acid frequency of the library’s C-terminus. In both cases the m/z values of fragment ions are shifted accordingly. Determination of FDR is performed in a manner equivalent to SDS, concatenating a library with its decoy prior to a search. The utility of Reverse and Random libraries for target-decoy SLS in estimating false-positives and FDRs was demonstrated using spectra derived from a recently published synthetic human proteome project (Zolg, D. P.; et al. Nat. Methods 2017, 14, 259–262). For data sets from two large-scale label-free and iTRAQ experiments, these decoy building methods yielded highly similar score thresholds and spectral identifications at 1% FDR. The results were also found to be equivalent to those of using the decoy-free PeptideProphet algorithm. Using these new methods for FDR estimation, MSPepSearch, which is freely available search software, led to 18% more identifications at 1% FDR and 23% more at 0.1% FDR when compared with other widely used SDS engines coupled to postprocessing approaches such as Percolator. An application of these methods for FDR estimation for the recently reported “hybrid” library search (Burke, M. C.; et al. J. Proteome Res. 2017, 16, 1924–1935) method is also made. The application of decoy methods for high mass accuracy SLS permits the merging of these results with those of SDS, thereby increasing the assignment of more peptides, leading to deeper proteome coverage.