Rónán Daly, Simon Rogers, Joe Wandy, Andris Jankevics, Karl E. V. Burgess and Rainer Breitling.

Bioinformatics, 2014


Motivation: The use of liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry has enabled the high-throughput profiling of the metabolite composition of biological samples. However, the large amount of data obtained can be difficult to analyse and often requires computational processing to understand which metabolites are present in a sample. This article looks at the dual problem of annotating peaks in a sample with a metabolite, together with putatively annotating whether a metabolite is present in the sample. The starting point of the approach is a Bayesian clustering of peaks into groups, each corresponding to putative adducts and isotopes of a single metabolite.

Results: The Bayesian modelling introduced here combines information from the mass-to-charge ratio, retention time and intensity of each peak, together with a model of the inter-peak dependency structure, to increase the accuracy of peak annotation. The results inherently contain a quantitative estimate of confidence in the peak annotations and allow an accurate trade-off between precision and recall. Extensive validation experiments using authentic chemical standards show that this system is able to produce more accurate putative identifications than other state-of-the-art systems, while at the same time giving a probabilistic measure of confidence in the annotations.

Availability and implementation: The software has been implemented as part of the mzMatch metabolomics analysis pipeline, which is available for download at http://mzmatch.sourceforge.net/.

Contact: Ronan.Daly@glasgow.ac.uk

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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