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2DB: a Proteomics database for storage, analysis, presentation, and retrieval of information from mass spectrometric experiments

Jens Allmer2, Sebastian Kuhlgert1 and Michael Hippler1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of Münster, Hindenburgplatz 55, Münster, Germany

2 Computer Science, Izmir University of Economics, Sakarya Caddesi 156, Balçova, Izmir, Turkey

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BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9:302  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-302

Published: 7 July 2008

Abstract

Background

The amount of information stemming from proteomics experiments involving (multi dimensional) separation techniques, mass spectrometric analysis, and computational analysis is ever-increasing. Data from such an experimental workflow needs to be captured, related and analyzed. Biological experiments within this scope produce heterogenic data ranging from pictures of one or two-dimensional protein maps and spectra recorded by tandem mass spectrometry to text-based identifications made by algorithms which analyze these spectra. Additionally, peptide and corresponding protein information needs to be displayed.

Results

In order to handle the large amount of data from computational processing of mass spectrometric experiments, automatic import scripts are available and the necessity for manual input to the database has been minimized. Information is in a generic format which abstracts from specific software tools typically used in such an experimental workflow. The software is therefore capable of storing and cross analysing results from many algorithms. A novel feature and a focus of this database is to facilitate protein identification by using peptides identified from mass spectrometry and link this information directly to respective protein maps. Additionally, our application employs spectral counting for quantitative presentation of the data. All information can be linked to hot spots on images to place the results into an experimental context. A summary of identified proteins, containing all relevant information per hot spot, is automatically generated, usually upon either a change in the underlying protein models or due to newly imported identifications. The supporting information for this report can be accessed in multiple ways using the user interface provided by the application.

Conclusion

We present a proteomics database which aims to greatly reduce evaluation time of results from mass spectrometric experiments and enhance result quality by allowing consistent data handling. Import functionality, automatic protein detection, and summary creation act together to facilitate data analysis. In addition, supporting information for these findings is readily accessible via the graphical user interface provided. The database schema and the implementation, which can easily be installed on virtually any server, can be downloaded in the form of a compressed file from our project webpage.