Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) has become the primary way for protein identification in proteomics. A good score function for measuring the match quality between a peptide and an MS/MS spectrum is instrumental for the protein identification. Traditionally the to-be-measured peptides are fragmented with the collision induced dissociation (CID) method. More recently, the electron transfer dissociation (ETD) method was introduced and has proven to produce better fragment ion ladders for larger and more basic peptides. However, the existing software programs that analyze ETD MS/MS data are not as advanced as they are for CID.
To take full advantage of ETD data, in this paper we develop a new score function to evaluate the match between a peptide and an ETD MS/MS spectrum. Experiments on real data demonstrated that this newly developed score function significantly improved the de novo sequencing accuracy of the PEAKS software on ETD data.