ProtyQuant: Comparing Label-Free Shotgun Proteomics Datasets Using Accumulated Peptide Probabilities
Preprints are manuscripts made publicly available before they have been submitted for formal peer review and publication. They might contain new research findings or data. Preprints can be a draft or final version of an author's research but must not have been accepted for publication at the time of submission.
Comparing multiple label-free shotgun proteomics datasets requires various data processing and formatting steps, including peptide-spectrum matching, protein inference, and quantification. Finally, the compilation of results files into a format that allows for downstream analyses. ProtyQuant performs protein inference and quantification calculations, and combines the results of individual datasets into plain text tables. These are lightweight, human-readable, and easy to import into databases or statistical software. ProtyQuant reads validated pepXML from proteomic workflows such as the Trans-Proteomic Pipeline (TPP), which makes it compatible with many commercial and free search engines. For protein inference and quantification, a modified version of the PIPQ program (He et al. 2016) was integrated. In contrast to simple spectral-counting, PIPQ sums up peptide probabilities. For assigning peptides to proteins, three algorithms are available: Multiple Counting, Equal Division, and Linear Programming. The accumulated peptide probabilities (app) are used for both tasks, protein probability estimation, and quantification. ProtyQuant was tested using a reference dataset for label-free shotgun proteomics, obtained from different concentrations of 48 human UPS proteins spiked into yeast lysate. Compared to ProteinProphet, ProtyQuant detected up to 126 (15%) more proteins in the mixture, applying an equal false positive rate (FPR). Using the app values for label-free quantification showed suitable sensitivity and linearity. Strikingly, the app values represent a realistic measure of ‘Protein Presence,’ an integral concept of protein probability and quantity. ProtyQuant provides a graphical user interface (GUI) and scripts for console-based processing. It is available (GNU GLP v3) for Windows, Linux, and Docker from https://bitbucket.org/lababi/protyquant/.