A mass graph-based approach for the identification of modified proteoforms using top-down tandem mass spectra

Qiang Kou, Si Wu, Nikola Tolić, Ljiljana Paša-Tolić, Yunlong Liu, Xiaowen Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Motivation: Although proteomics has rapidly developed in the past decade, researchers are still in the early stage of exploring the world of complex proteoforms, which are protein products with various primary structure alterations resulting from gene mutations, alternative splicing, posttranslational modifications, and other biological processes. Proteoform identification is essential to mapping proteoforms to their biological functions as well as discovering novel proteoforms and new protein functions. Top-down mass spectrometry is the method of choice for identifying complex proteoforms because it provides a 'bird's eye view' of intact proteoforms. The combinatorial explosion of various alterations on a protein may result in billions of possible proteoforms, making proteoform identification a challenging computational problem. Results: We propose a new data structure, called the mass graph, for efficient representation of proteoforms and design mass graph alignment algorithms. We developed TopMG, a mass graphbased software tool for proteoform identification by top-down mass spectrometry. Experiments on top-down mass spectrometry datasets showed that TopMG outperformed existing methods in identifying complex proteoforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1309-1316
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics

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