A major goal of proteomics research is the accurate and sensitive identification and quantification of a broad range of proteins within a sample. Data-independent acquisition (DIA) approaches that acquire MS/MS spectra independently of precursor information have been developed to overcome the reproducibility challenges of data-dependent acquisition and the limited breadth of targeted proteomics strategies. Typical DIA implementations use wide MS/MS isolation windows to acquire comprehensive fragment ion data. However, wide isolation windows produce highly chimeric spectra, limiting the achievable sensitivity and accuracy of quantification and identification. Here, we present a DIA strategy in which spectra are collected with overlapping (rather than adjacent or random) windows and then computationally demultiplexed. This approach improves precursor selectivity by nearly a factor of 2, without incurring any loss in mass range, mass resolution, chromatographic resolution, scan speed, or other key acquisition parameters. We demonstrate a 64% improvement in sensitivity and a 17% improvement in peptides detected in a 6-protein bovine mix spiked into a yeast background. To confirm the method's applicability to a realistic biological experiment, we also analyze the regulation of the proteasome in yeast grown in rapamycin and show that DIA experiments with overlapping windows can help elucidate its adaptation toward the degradation of oxidatively damaged proteins. Our integrated computational and experimental DIA strategy is compatible with any DIA-capable instrument. The computational demultiplexing algorithm required to analyze the data has been made available as part of the open-source proteomics software tools Skyline and msconvert (Proteowizard), making it easy to apply as part of standard proteomics workflows. Graphical Abstract.
Keywords: Data-independent acquisition; LC-MS/MS; Label-free quantification; Multiplexed acquisition; Proteasome regulation; Rapamycin; Skyline; Targeted mass spectrometry.