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Open Access Open Badges Research

A feedback framework for protein inference with peptides identified from tandem mass spectra

Jinhong Shi1 and Fang-Xiang Wu12*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Biomedical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, 57 Campus Dr, Saskatoon, Canada

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, , 57 Campus Dr, Saskatoon, Canada

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Proteome Science 2012, 10:68  doi:10.1186/1477-5956-10-68

Published: 19 November 2012



Protein inference is an important computational step in proteomics. There exists a natural nest relationship between protein inference and peptide identification, but these two steps are usually performed separately in existing methods. We believe that both peptide identification and protein inference can be improved by exploring such nest relationship.


In this study, a feedback framework is proposed to process peptide identification reports from search engines, and an iterative method is implemented to exemplify the processing of Sequest peptide identification reports according to the framework. The iterative method is verified on two datasets with known validity of proteins and peptides, and compared with ProteinProphet and PeptideProphet. The results have shown that not only can the iterative method infer more true positive and less false positive proteins than ProteinProphet, but also identify more true positive and less false positive peptides than PeptideProphet.


The proposed iterative method implemented according to the feedback framework can unify and improve the results of peptide identification and protein inference.