Mass spectrometry-driven proteomics is increasingly relying on quantitative analyses for biological discoveries. As a result, different methods and algorithms have been developed to perform relative or absolute quantification based on mass spectrometry data. One of the most popular quantification methods are the so-called label-free approaches, which require no special sample processing, and can even be applied retroactively to existing data sets. Of these label-free methods, the MS/MS-based approaches are most often applied, mainly because of their inherent simplicity as compared to MS-based methods. The main application of these approaches is the determination of relative protein amounts between different samples, expressed as protein ratios. However, as we demonstrate here, there are some issues with the reproducibility across replicates of these protein ratio sets obtained from the various MS/MS-based label-free methods, indicating that the existing methods are not optimally robust. We therefore present two new methods (called RIBAR and xRIBAR) that use the available MS/MS data more effectively, achieving increased robustness. Both the accuracy and the precision of our novel methods are analyzed and compared to the existing methods to illustrate the increased robustness of our new methods over existing ones.
Colaert N, Gevaert K, Martens L. RIBAR and xRIBAR: Methods for Reproducible Relative MS/MS-based Label-Free Protein Quantification. J Proteome Res. 2011 May 23. [Epub ahead of print]