Reproducibility, Specificity and Accuracy of Relative Quantification Using Spectral Library-based Data-independent Acquisition

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2020 Jan;19(1):181-197. doi: 10.1074/mcp.RA119.001714. Epub 2019 Nov 7.


Currently data-dependent acquisition (DDA) is the method of choice for mass spectrometry-based proteomics discovery experiments, but data-independent acquisition (DIA) is steadily becoming more important. One of the most important requirements to perform a DIA analysis is the availability of suitable spectral libraries for peptide identification and quantification. Several studies were performed addressing the evaluation of spectral library performance for protein identification in DIA measurements. But so far only few experiments estimate the effect of these libraries on the quantitative level.In this work we created a gold standard spike-in sample set with known contents and ratios of proteins in a complex protein matrix that allowed a detailed comparison of DIA quantification data obtained with different spectral library approaches. We used in-house generated sample-specific spectral libraries created using varying sample preparation approaches and repeated DDA measurement. In addition, two different search engines were tested for protein identification from DDA data and subsequent library generation. In total, eight different spectral libraries were generated, and the quantification results compared with a library free method, as well as a default DDA analysis. Not only the number of identifications on peptide and protein level in the spectral libraries and the corresponding DIA analysis results was inspected, but also the number of expected and identified differentially abundant protein groups and their ratios.We found, that while libraries of prefractionated samples were generally larger, there was no significant increase in DIA identifications compared with repetitive non-fractionated measurements. Furthermore, we show that the accuracy of the quantification is strongly dependent on the applied spectral library and whether the quantification is based on peptide or protein level. Overall, the reproducibility and accuracy of DIA quantification is superior to DDA in all applied approaches.Data has been deposited to the ProteomeXchange repository with identifiers PXD012986, PXD012987, PXD012988 and PXD014956.

Keywords: Bioinformatics software; Label-free quantification; Mass Spectrometry; Quantification; Target identification; data-independent acquisition (DIA); peptide identification; proteomics; spectral library.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Data Accuracy*
  • Databases, Protein
  • Mice
  • Myoblasts / metabolism
  • Peptide Library*
  • Peptides / analysis
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein
  • Software
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods


  • Peptide Library
  • Peptides
  • Proteins
  • Proteome