HDX-Analyzer: a novel package for statistical analysis of protein structure dynamics Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: HDX mass spectrometry is a powerful platform to probe protein structure dynamics during ligand binding, protein folding, enzyme catalysis, and such. HDX mass spectrometry analysis derives the protein structure dynamics based on the mass increase of a protein of which the backbone protons exchanged with solvent deuterium. Coupled with enzyme digestion and MS/MS analysis, HDX mass spectrometry can be used to study the regional dynamics of protein based on the m/z value or percentage of deuterium incorporation for the digested peptides in the HDX experiments. Various software packages have been developed to analyze HDX mass spectrometry data. Despite the progresses, proper and explicit statistical treatment is still lacking in most of the current HDX mass spectrometry software. In order to address this issue, we have developed the HDXanalyzer for the statistical analysis of HDX mass spectrometry data using R, Python, and RPY2. IMPLEMENTATION AND RESULTS: HDXanalyzer package contains three major modules, the data processing module, the statistical analysis module, and the user interface. RPY2 is employed to enable the connection of these three components, where the data processing module is implemented using Python and the statistical analysis module is implemented with R. RPY2 creates a low-level interface for R and allows the effective integration of statistical module for data processing. The data processing module generates the centroid for the peptides in form of m/z value, and the differences of centroids between the peptides derived from apo and ligand-bound protein allow us to evaluate whether the regions have significant changes in structure dynamics or not. Another option of the software is to calculate the deuterium incorporation rate for the comparison. The two types of statistical analyses are Paired Student's t-test and the linear combination of the intercept for multiple regression and ANCOVA model. The user interface is implemented with wxpython to facilitate the data visualization in graphs and the statistical analysis output presentation. In order to evaluate the software, a previously published xylanase HDX mass spectrometry analysis dataset is processed and presented. The results from the different statistical analysis methods are compared and shown to be similar. The statistical analysis results are overlaid with the three dimensional structure of the protein to highlight the regional structure dynamics changes in the xylanase enzyme. CONCLUSION: Statistical analysis provides crucial evaluation of whether a protein region is significantly protected or unprotected during the HDX mass spectrometry studies. Although there are several other available software programs to process HDX experimental data, HDXanalyzer is the first software program to offer multiple statistical methods to evaluate the changes in protein structure dynamics based on HDX mass spectrometry analysis. Moreover, the statistical analysis can be carried out for both m/z value and deuterium incorporation rate. In addition, the software package can be used for the data generated from a wide range of mass spectrometry instruments.

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, S., Liu, L., Uzuner, U., Zhou, X., Gu, M., Shi, W., ... Yuan, J. S.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Sanmin||Liu, Lantao||Uzuner, Ugur||Zhou, Xin||Gu, Manxi||Shi, Weibing||Zhang, Yixiang||Dai, Susie Y||Yuan, Joshua S

publication date

  • February 2011