Special Issue "Analytical Techniques in Metabolomics"

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A special issue of Metabolites (ISSN 2218-1989).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Per Bruheim (Website)

Department of Biotechnology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7034 Trondheim, Norway
Interests: mass spectrometry; metabolomics; metabolic engineering; secondary metabolites; biomakers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Metabolomics face particular analytical challenges due to the diverse physico-chemical properties of the metabolites; ranging from highly negatively charged organic acids and phosphometabolites to hydrophobic species such as fatty acids, steroids and pigments. Hence, at present no single analytical method can cover the whole Metabolome. Mass spectrometry (MS) and magnetic resonance (NMR) are the two main analytical technologies for analysis of metabolite pools, the former in combination with separation techniques as gas and liquid chromatography. Broadly, Metabolomics can be divided in two approaches: targeted and non-targeted analysis; the former delivering quantification of known metabolites while the latter approach is mostly used to classify samples and potential identification of unknown metabolites. Both approaches have benefitted strongly by recent technological developments, as the analytical instruments have become more sensitive and with higher resolution and accuracy.  Therefore, this special issue in Metabolites will cover both qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques used to analyze metabolite pools as well as aspects on sample preparation and data processing.

Dr. Per Bruheim
Guest Editor

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle An UPLC-ESI-MS/MS Assay Using 6-Aminoquinolyl-N-Hydroxysuccinimidyl Carbamate Derivatization for Targeted Amino Acid Analysis: Application to Screening of Arabidopsis thaliana Mutants
Metabolites 2012, 2(3), 398-428; doi:10.3390/metabo2030398
Received: 2 May 2012 / Revised: 29 June 2012 / Accepted: 4 July 2012 / Published: 6 July 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (769 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In spite of the large arsenal of methodologies developed for amino acid assessment in complex matrices, their implementation in metabolomics studies involving wide-ranging mutant screening is hampered by their lack of high-throughput, sensitivity, reproducibility, and/or wide dynamic range. In response to the [...] Read more.
In spite of the large arsenal of methodologies developed for amino acid assessment in complex matrices, their implementation in metabolomics studies involving wide-ranging mutant screening is hampered by their lack of high-throughput, sensitivity, reproducibility, and/or wide dynamic range. In response to the challenge of developing amino acid analysis methods that satisfy the criteria required for metabolomic studies, improved reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (RPHPLC-MS) methods have been recently reported for large-scale screening of metabolic phenotypes. However, these methods focus on the direct analysis of underivatized amino acids and, therefore, problems associated with insufficient retention and resolution are observed due to the hydrophilic nature of amino acids. It is well known that derivatization methods render amino acids more amenable for reverse phase chromatographic analysis by introducing highly-hydrophobic tags in their carboxylic acid or amino functional group. Therefore, an analytical platform that combines the 6-aminoquinolyl-N-hydroxysuccinimidyl carbamate (AQC) pre-column derivatization method with ultra performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-MS/MS) is presented in this article. For numerous reasons typical amino acid derivatization methods would be inadequate for large scale metabolic projects. However, AQC derivatization is a simple, rapid and reproducible way of obtaining stable amino acid adducts amenable for UPLC-ESI-MS/MS and the applicability of the method for high-throughput metabolomic analysis in Arabidopsis thaliana is demonstrated in this study. Overall, the major advantages offered by this amino acid analysis method include high-throughput, enhanced sensitivity and selectivity; characteristics that showcase its utility for the rapid screening of the preselected plant metabolites without compromising the quality of the metabolic data. The presented method enabled thirty-eight metabolites (proteinogenic amino acids and related compounds) to be analyzed within 10 min with detection limits down to 1.02 × 10−11 M (i.e., atomole level on column), which represents an improved sensitivity of 1 to 5 orders of magnitude compared to existing methods. Our UPLC-ESI-MS/MS method is one of the seven analytical platforms used by the Arabidopsis Metabolomics Consortium. The amino acid dataset obtained by analysis of Arabidopsis T-DNA mutant stocks with our platform is captured and open to the public in the web portal PlantMetabolomics.org. The analytical platform herein described could find important applications in other studies where the rapid, high-throughput and sensitive assessment of low abundance amino acids in complex biosamples is necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Techniques in Metabolomics)

Review

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Open AccessReview A Guideline to Univariate Statistical Analysis for LC/MS-Based Untargeted Metabolomics-Derived Data
Metabolites 2012, 2(4), 775-795; doi:10.3390/metabo2040775
Received: 2 August 2012 / Revised: 2 October 2012 / Accepted: 10 October 2012 / Published: 18 October 2012
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (420 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Several metabolomic software programs provide methods for peak picking, retention time alignment and quantification of metabolite features in LC/MS-based metabolomics. Statistical analysis, however, is needed in order to discover those features significantly altered between samples. By comparing the retention time and MS/MS [...] Read more.
Several metabolomic software programs provide methods for peak picking, retention time alignment and quantification of metabolite features in LC/MS-based metabolomics. Statistical analysis, however, is needed in order to discover those features significantly altered between samples. By comparing the retention time and MS/MS data of a model compound to that from the altered feature of interest in the research sample, metabolites can be then unequivocally identified. This paper reports on a comprehensive overview of a workflow for statistical analysis to rank relevant metabolite features that will be selected for further MS/MS experiments. We focus on univariate data analysis applied in parallel on all detected features. Characteristics and challenges of this analysis are discussed and illustrated using four different real LC/MS untargeted metabolomic datasets. We demonstrate the influence of considering or violating mathematical assumptions on which univariate statistical test rely, using high-dimensional LC/MS datasets. Issues in data analysis such as determination of sample size, analytical variation, assumption of normality and homocedasticity, or correction for multiple testing are discussed and illustrated in the context of our four untargeted LC/MS working examples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Techniques in Metabolomics)
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Open AccessReview Separation Technique for the Determination of Highly Polar Metabolites in Biological Samples
Metabolites 2012, 2(3), 496-515; doi:10.3390/metabo2030496
Received: 8 June 2012 / Revised: 31 July 2012 / Accepted: 6 August 2012 / Published: 16 August 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (300 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Metabolomics is a new approach that is based on the systematic study of the full complement of metabolites in a biological sample. Metabolomics has the potential to fundamentally change clinical chemistry and, by extension, the fields of nutrition, toxicology, and medicine. However, [...] Read more.
Metabolomics is a new approach that is based on the systematic study of the full complement of metabolites in a biological sample. Metabolomics has the potential to fundamentally change clinical chemistry and, by extension, the fields of nutrition, toxicology, and medicine. However, it can be difficult to separate highly polar compounds. Mass spectrometry (MS), in combination with capillary electrophoresis (CE), gas chromatography (GC), or high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is the key analytical technique on which emerging "omics" technologies, namely, proteomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics, are based. In this review, we introduce various methods for the separation of highly polar metabolites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Techniques in Metabolomics)
Open AccessReview Targeted Chiral Analysis of Bioactive Arachidonic Acid Metabolites Using Liquid-Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
Metabolites 2012, 2(2), 337-365; doi:10.3390/metabo2020337
Received: 1 March 2012 / Revised: 2 April 2012 / Accepted: 9 April 2012 / Published: 20 April 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (943 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A complex structurally diverse series of eicosanoids arises from the metabolism of arachidonic acid. The metabolic profile is further complicated by the enantioselectivity of eicosanoid formation and the variety of regioisomers that arise. In order to investigate the metabolism of arachidonic acid [...] Read more.
A complex structurally diverse series of eicosanoids arises from the metabolism of arachidonic acid. The metabolic profile is further complicated by the enantioselectivity of eicosanoid formation and the variety of regioisomers that arise. In order to investigate the metabolism of arachidonic acid in vitro or in vivo, targeted methods are advantageous in order to distinguish between the complex isomeric mixtures that can arise by different metabolic pathways. Over the last several years this targeted approach has become more popular, although there are still relatively few examples where chiral targeted approaches have been employed to directly analyze complex enantiomeric mixtures. To efficiently conduct targeted eicosanoid analyses, LC separations are coupled with collision induced dissociation (CID) and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Product ion profiles are often diagnostic for particular regioisomers. The highest sensitivity that can be achieved involves the use of selected reaction monitoring/mass spectrometry (SRM/MS); whereas the highest specificity is obtained with an SRM transitions between an intense parent ion, which contains the intact molecule (M) and a structurally significant product ion. This review article provides an overview of arachidonic acid metabolism and targeted chiral methods that have been utilized for the analysis of the structurally diverse eicosanoids that arise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Techniques in Metabolomics)

Other

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Open AccessTechnical Note A Comprehensive Workflow of Mass Spectrometry-Based Untargeted Metabolomics in Cancer Metabolic Biomarker Discovery Using Human Plasma and Urine
Metabolites 2013, 3(3), 787-819; doi:10.3390/metabo3030787
Received: 10 July 2013 / Revised: 30 August 2013 / Accepted: 2 September 2013 / Published: 11 September 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1870 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current available biomarkers lack sensitivity and/or specificity for early detection of cancer. To address this challenge, a robust and complete workflow for metabolic profiling and data mining is described in details. Three independent and complementary analytical techniques for metabolic profiling are applied: [...] Read more.
Current available biomarkers lack sensitivity and/or specificity for early detection of cancer. To address this challenge, a robust and complete workflow for metabolic profiling and data mining is described in details. Three independent and complementary analytical techniques for metabolic profiling are applied: hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC–LC), reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RP–LC), and gas chromatography (GC). All three techniques are coupled to a mass spectrometer (MS) in the full scan acquisition mode, and both unsupervised and supervised methods are used for data mining. The univariate and multivariate feature selection are used to determine subsets of potentially discriminative predictors. These predictors are further identified by obtaining accurate masses and isotopic ratios using selected ion monitoring (SIM) and data-dependent MS/MS and/or accurate mass MSn ion tree scans utilizing high resolution MS. A list combining all of the identified potential biomarkers generated from different platforms and algorithms is used for pathway analysis. Such a workflow combining comprehensive metabolic profiling and advanced data mining techniques may provide a powerful approach for metabolic pathway analysis and biomarker discovery in cancer research. Two case studies with previous published data are adapted and included in the context to elucidate the application of the workflow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Techniques in Metabolomics)
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