Targeting Modified Lipids during Routine Lipidomics Analysis using HILIC and C30RP LC-MS
Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 5048 (2019)
Lipids are important biomolecules in all biological systems and serve numerous essential cellular functions. The global analysis of complex lipids is very challenging due to the extreme diversity in lipid structures. Variation in linkages and positions of fatty acyl chain(s) on the lipid backbone, functional group modification, occurrence of the molecular species as isomers or isobars are among some of the greatest challenges to resolve in lipidomics. In this work, we describe a routine analytical approach combining two liquid chromatography platforms: hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) and C30 reversed-phase chromatography (C30RP) coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) as complementary high throughput platforms to analyze complex lipid mixtures. Vascular plants (kale leaves and corn roots), rat brain and soil microbes were used as proxies to evaluate the efficiency of the enhanced approach to resolve traditional, as well as, modified lipids during routine lipidomics analysis.
We report for the first time, the observation of a modified class of acylphosphatidylglycerol (acylPG) in corn roots by HILIC, and further resolution of the isomers using C30RP chromatography. We also used this approach to demonstrate the presence of high levels of N-monomethyl phosphatidylethanolamine (MMPE) in soil microbes, as well as to determine the regioisomers of lysophospholipids in kale leaves.
Additionally, neutral lipids were demonstrated using C30RP chromatography in positive ion mode to resolve triacylglycerol isomers in rat brain. The work presented here demonstrates how the enhanced approach can more routinely permit novel biomarker discovery, or lipid metabolism in a wide range of biological samples.