AccuCor2: isotope natural abundance correction for dual-isotope tracer experiments

Yujue Wang, Lance R. Parsons, Xiaoyang Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stable isotope labeling techniques have been widely applied in the field of metabolomics and proteomics. Before the measured mass spectral data can be used for quantitative analysis, it must be accurately corrected for isotope natural abundance and tracer isotopic impurity. Despite the increasing popularity of dual-isotope tracing strategy such as 13C-15N or 13C-2H, there are no accurate tools for correcting isotope natural abundance for such experiments in a resolution-dependent manner. Here, we present AccuCor2 as an R-based tool to perform the correction for 13C-15N or 13C-2H labeling experiments. Our method uses a newly designed algorithm to construct the correction matrices that link labeling pattern and measured mass fractions, then use non-negative least-squares to solve the labeling patterns. Our results show that the dual-isotope experiments often require a mass resolution that is high enough to resolve 13C and 15N or 13C and 2H. Otherwise, the labeling pattern is not solvable. However, this mass resolution may not be sufficiently high to resolve other non-tracer elements such as oxygen or sulfur from the tracer elements. Therefore, we design AccuCor2 to perform the correction based on the actual mass resolution of the measurements. Using both simulated and experimental data, we show that AccuCor2 performs accurate and resolution-dependent correction for dual-isotope tracer data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1403-1410
Number of pages8
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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