Complete annotation of the human genome is indispensable for medical research. The GENCODE consortium strives to provide this, augmenting computational and experimental evidence with manual annotation. The rapidly developing field of proteogenomics provides evidence for the translation of genes into proteins and can be used to discover and refine gene models. However, for both the proteomics and annotation groups, there is a lack of guidelines for integrating this data. Here we report a stringent workflow for the interpretation of proteogenomic data that could be used by the annotation community to interpret novel proteogenomic evidence. Based on reprocessing of three large-scale publicly available human data sets, we show that a conservative approach, using stringent filtering is required to generate valid identifications. Evidence has been found supporting 16 novel protein-coding genes being added to GENCODE. Despite this many peptide identifications in pseudogenes cannot be annotated due to the absence of orthogonal supporting evidence.
Identifying and annotating functional elements in the human genome remains a challenging but important task. Here the authors propose a priority annotation score to rank identifications and suggest how proteogenomics evidence can be interpreted and what additional information substantiates protein-coding potential for annotation.