Large data sets of electron capture dissociation (ECD) mass spectra from proteomic experiments are rich in information; however, extracting that information in an optimal manner is not straightforward. Protein database search engines currently available are designed for low resolution CID data, from which Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) ECD data differs significantly. ECD mass spectra contain both z-prime and z-dot fragment ions (and c-prime and c-dot); ECD mass spectra contain abundant peaks derived from neutral losses from charge-reduced precursor ions; FT-ICR ECD spectra are acquired with a larger precursor m/z isolation window than their low-resolution CID counterparts. Here, we consider three distinct stages of postacquisition analysis: (1) processing of ECD mass spectra prior to the database search; (2) the database search step itself and (3) postsearch processing of results. We demonstrate that each of these steps has an effect on the number of peptides identified, with the postsearch processing of results having the largest effect. We compare two commonly used search engines: Mascot and OMSSA. Using an ECD data set of modest size (3341 mass spectra) from a complex sample (mouse whole cell lysate), we demonstrate that search results can be improved from 630 identifications (19% identification success rate) to 1643 identifications (49% identification success rate). We focus in particular on improving identification rates for doubly charged precursors, which are typically low for ECD fragmentation. We compare our presearch processing algorithm with a similar algorithm recently developed for electron transfer dissociation (ETD) data
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.