Improving Proteomics Data Reproducibility with a Dual-Search Strategy

Anal Chem. 2020 Jan 21;92(2):1697-1701. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.9b04955. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


Mass spectrometry-based proteomics is an invaluable tool for addressing important biological questions. Data-dependent acquisition methods effectuate stochastic acquisition of data in complex mixtures, which results in missing identifications across replicates. We developed a search approach that improves the reproducibility of data acquired from any mass spectrometer. In our approach, a spectral library is built from the identification results from a database search, and then, the library is used to research the same data files to obtain the final result. We showed that higher identification and quantification reproducibility is achieved with the dual-search approach than with a typical database search. Four datasets with different complexity were compared: (1) data from a cell lysate study performed in our lab, (2) data from an interactome study performed in our lab, (3) a publicly available extracellular vesicles dataset, and (4) a publicly available phosphoproteomics dataset. Our results show that the dual-search approach can be widely and easily used to improve data quality in proteomics data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Protein*
  • Humans
  • Peptides / analysis*
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteomics*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Peptides
  • Proteins