Retention Time Alignment for Protein Turnover Studies Using Heavy Water Metabolic Labeling

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Retention time (RT) alignment has been important for robust protein identification and quantification in proteomics. In data-dependent acquisition mode, whereby the precursor ions are semistochastically chosen for fragmentation in MS/MS, the alignment is used in an approach termed matched between runs (MBR). MBR transfers peptides, which were fragmented and identified in one experiment, to a replicate experiment where they were not identified. Before the MBR transfer, the RTs of experiments are aligned to reduce the chance of erroneous transfers. Despite its widespread use in other areas of quantitative proteomics, RT alignment has not been applied in data analyses for protein turnover using an atom-based stable isotope-labeling agent such as metabolic labeling with deuterium oxide, D2O. Deuterium incorporation changes isotope profiles of intact peptides in full scans and their fragment ions in tandem mass spectra. It reduces the peptide identification rates in current database search engines. Therefore, the MBR becomes more important. Here, we report on an approach to incorporate RT alignment with peptide quantification in studies of proteome turnover using heavy water metabolic labeling and LC-MS. The RT alignment uses correlation-optimized time warping. The alignment, followed by the MBR, improves labeling time point coverage, especially for long labeling durations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-419
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 3 2023


  • heavy water metabolic labeling
  • in vivo protein turnover
  • protein turnover rate
  • retention time alignment
  • stable isotope labeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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