Cloud parallel processing of tandem mass spectrometry based proteomics data

Yassene Mohammed, Ekaterina Mostovenko, Alex A. Henneman, Rob J. Marissen, André M. Deelder, Magnus Palmblad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Data analysis in mass spectrometry based proteomics struggles to keep pace with the advances in instrumentation and the increasing rate of data acquisition. Analyzing this data involves multiple steps requiring diverse software, using different algorithms and data formats. Speed and performance of the mass spectral search engines are continuously improving, although not necessarily as needed to face the challenges of acquired big data. Improving and parallelizing the search algorithms is one possibility; data decomposition presents another, simpler strategy for introducing parallelism. We describe a general method for parallelizing identification of tandem mass spectra using data decomposition that keeps the search engine intact and wraps the parallelization around it. We introduce two algorithms for decomposing mzXML files and recomposing resulting pepXML files. This makes the approach applicable to different search engines, including those relying on sequence databases and those searching spectral libraries. We use cloud computing to deliver the computational power and scientific workflow engines to interface and automate the different processing steps. We show how to leverage these technologies to achieve faster data analysis in proteomics and present three scientific workflows for parallel database as well as spectral library search using our data decomposition programs, X!Tandem and SpectraST.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5101-5108
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 5 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • data decomposition
  • mass spectrometry
  • proteomics
  • scientific workflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Chemistry


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