Identification of large proteomics datasets is routinely performed using sophisticated software tools called search engines. Yet despite the importance of the identification process, its configuration and execution is often performed according to established lab habits, and is mostly unsupervised by detailed quality control. In order to establish easily obtainable quality control criteria that can be broadly applied to the identification process, we here introduce several simple quality control methods. An unbiased quality control of identification parameters will be conducted using target/decoy searches providing significant improvement over identification standards. Mascot identifications were for instance increased by 13% at a constant level of confidence. The target/decoy approach can however not be universally applied. We therefore also quality control the application of this strategy itself, providing useful and intuitive metrics for evaluating the precision and robustness of the obtained false discovery rate.
Vaudel M, Burkhart JM, Sickmann A, Martens L and Zahedi RP (2011), ‘Peptide Identification Quality Control’, Proteomics, in press (IF: 4.426).