This study quantifies the experimental uncertainty for LC retention time, mass measurement precision, and ion abundance obtained from replicate nLC-dual ESI-FT-ICR analyses of the low molecular weight fraction of serum. We used ultrafiltration to enrich the <10-kDa fraction of components from the high-abundance proteins in a pooled serum sample derived from ovarian cancer patients. The THRASH algorithm for isotope cluster detection was applied to five replicate nLC-dual ESI-FT-ICR chromatograms. A simple two-level grouping algorithm was applied to the more than 7000 isotope clusters found in each replicate and identified 497 molecular species that appeared in at least four of the replicates. In addition, a representative set of 231 isotope clusters, corresponding to 188 unique molecular species, were manually interpreted to verify the automated algorithm and to set its tolerances. For nLC retention time reproducibility, 95% of the 497 species had a 95% confidence interval of the mean of ±0.9 min or less without the use of chromatographic alignment procedures. Furthermore, 95% of the 497 species had a mass measurement precision of ≤3.2 and ≤6.3 ppm for internally and externally calibrated spectra, respectively. Moreover, 95% of replicate ion abundance measurements, covering an ion abundance range of ∼3 orders of magnitude, had a coefficient of variation of less than 62% without using any normalization functions. The variability of ion abundance was independent of LC retention time, mass, and ion abundance quartile. These measures of analytical reproducibility establish a statistical rationale for differentiating healthy and disease patient populations for the elucidation of biomarkers in the low molecular fraction of serum.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry