viQC: visual and intuitive quality control for mass spectrometry based proteome analysis


E.M. Solovyeva, A.A. Lobas, A.K. Surin, L.I. Levitsky, V.A. Gorshkov, M.V. Gorshkov

Mass spectrometry-based bottom-up proteomics becomes a method of choice in a broad range of biomedical studies. However, because of the growing complexity of the mass spectrometers employed in these studies, there is an increasing need for robust and rapid quality control over the instrument performance. A variety of quality control tools targeting all aspects of LC-MS instrument operation have been developed recently. These tools are typically loaded heavily with a large number of metrics. Many of these metrics are difficult for interpretation for the regular users without extensive instrumentation and/or data processing experience. In this work, we introduced a set of simple and intuitively understandable metrics for assessing the quality of proteomic analysis, including the total experimental time and the number of spectral scans, ion accumulation time and intensity in both MS and MS/MS spectra, charge state distribution for precursor peptide ions, and the number of sequential MS/MS scans, etc. These metrics are implemented as an open-source utility, viQC, freely available at The developed tool has been tested experimentally using data from three different Orbitrap instruments and demonstrated its capability for assessing the possible flaws in the instrument’s operation and subsequent improving the efficiency of proteomic analysis.

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