Bayesian Alignment Model for Analysis of LC-MS-based Omic Data

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Virginia Tech

Liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) has been widely used in various omic studies for biomarker discovery. Appropriate LC-MS data preprocessing steps are needed to detect true differences between biological groups. Retention time alignment is one of the most important yet challenging preprocessing steps, in order to ensure that ion intensity measurements among multiple LC-MS runs are comparable. In this dissertation, we propose a Bayesian alignment model (BAM) for analysis of LC-MS data. BAM uses Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods to draw inference on the model parameters and provides estimates of the retention time variability along with uncertainty measures, enabling a natural framework to integrate information of various sources. From methodology development to practical application, we investigate the alignment problem through three research topics: 1) development of single-profile Bayesian alignment model, 2) development of multi-profile Bayesian alignment model, and 3) application to biomarker discovery research.

Chapter 2 introduces the profile-based Bayesian alignment using a single chromatogram, e.g., base peak chromatogram from each LC-MS run. The single-profile alignment model improves on existing MCMC-based alignment methods through 1) the implementation of an efficient MCMC sampler using a block Metropolis-Hastings algorithm, and 2) an adaptive mechanism for knot specification using stochastic search variable selection (SSVS).

Chapter 3 extends the model to integrate complementary information that better captures the variability in chromatographic separation. We use Gaussian process regression on the internal standards to derive a prior distribution for the mapping functions. In addition, a clustering approach is proposed to identify multiple representative chromatograms for each LC-MS run. With the Gaussian process prior, these chromatograms are simultaneously considered in the profile-based alignment, which greatly improves the model estimation and facilitates the subsequent peak matching process.

Chapter 4 demonstrates the applicability of the proposed Bayesian alignment model to biomarker discovery research. We integrate the proposed Bayesian alignment model into a rigorous preprocessing pipeline for LC-MS data analysis. Through the developed analysis pipeline, candidate biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are identified and confirmed on a complementary platform.

alignment, Bayesian inference, biomarker discovery, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC)