MetaboShiny - interactive processing, analysis and identification of untargeted metabolomics data

Joanna C. Wolthuis, Stefania Magnusdottir, Mia Pras-Raves, Judith J.M. Jans, Boudewijn Burgering, Saskia van Mil, Jeroen de Ridder

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Sep 16, 2019
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Received Date: 28th August 19

Untargeted metabolomics by mass spectrometry in the form of mass over charge and intensity of ions, provides insight into the metabolic activity in a sample and is therefore essential to understand regulation and expression at the protein and transcription level. Problematically, it is often challenging to analyze untargeted metabolomics data as many m/z values are detected per sample and it is difficult to identify what compound they represent. We aimed to facilitate the process of finding m/z biomarkers through statistical analysis, machine learning and searching for their putative identities. To address this challenge, we developed MetaboShiny, a novel R and RShiny based metabolomics data analysis package. MetaboShiny features bi/multivariate and temporal statistics, an extensive machine learning module, interactive plotting and result exploration, and compound identification through a variety of chemical databases. As a result, MetaboShiny enables rapid and rigorous analysis of untargeted metabolomics data as well as target identification at unprecedented scale. To demonstrate its efficacy and ease-of-use, we apply MetaboShiny to a publicly accessible metabolomics dataset generated from the urine of smokers and non-smokers. Replication of the main results of the original publication, which includes importing, normalization and several statistical analyses, is achieved within minutes. Moreover, MetaboShiny enables deeper exploration of the data thereby revealing novel putative biomarkers and hypotheses. For instance, by using MetaboShiny's subsetting feature, iodine is found to be significantly increased in non-smoking lung cancer patients. Furthermore, by allowing for custom adducts, MetaboShiny reveals a putative identification for an m/z value which could not be identified by the original authors. This validates MetaboShiny as a flexible and customizable data analysis package that greatly enhances metabolomics biomarker discovery.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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