bims-mascan Biomed News
on Mass spectrometry in cancer research
Issue of 2020‒09‒13
twelve papers selected by
Giovanny Rodriguez Blanco
University of Edinburgh

  1. Chem Phys Lipids. 2020 Sep 02. pii: S0009-3084(20)30101-8. [Epub ahead of print] 104970
      Heightened awareness regarding the implication of disturbances in lipid metabolism with respect to prevalent human-related pathologies demands analytical techniques that provide unambiguous structural characterization and accurate quantitation of lipids in complex biological samples. The diversity in molecular structures of lipids along with their wide range of concentrations in biological matrices present formidable analytical challenges. Modern mass spectrometry (MS) offers an unprecedented level of analytical power in lipid analysis, as many advancements in the field of lipidomics have been facilitated through novel applications of and developments in electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS). ESI allows for the formation of intact lipid ions with little to no fragmentation and has become widely used in contemporary lipidomics experiments due to its sensitivity, reproducibility, and compatibility with condensed-phase modes of separation, such as liquid chromatography (LC). Owing to variations in lipid functional groups, ESI enables partial chemical separation of the lipidome, yet the preferred ion-type is not always formed, impacting lipid detection, characterization, and quantitation. Moreover, conventional ESI-MS/MS approaches often fail to expose diverse subtle structural features like the sites of unsaturation in fatty acyl constituents or acyl chain regiochemistry along the glycerol backbone, representing a significant challenge for ESI-MS/MS. To overcome these shortcomings, various charge manipulation strategies, including charge-switching, have been developed to transform ion-type and charge state, with aims of increasing sensitivity and selectivity of ESI-MS/MS approaches. Importantly, charge manipulation approaches afford enhanced ionization efficiency, improved mixture analysis performance, and access to informative fragmentation channels. Herein, we present a critical review of the current suite of solution-based and gas-phase strategies for the manipulation of lipid ion charge and type relevant to ESI-MS/MS.
    Keywords:  charge inversion; charge manipulation; collision-induced dissociation; electrospray ionization; lipidomics; lipids; liquid chromatography
  2. Anal Chim Acta. 2020 Sep 08. pii: S0003-2670(20)30737-6. [Epub ahead of print]1129 31-39
      Branched fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (FAHFAs) are a recently discovered class of endogenous bioactive lipids with anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects. Identification of FAHFAs is challenging due to both the relatively low abundance of these metabolites in most biological samples and the significant structural diversity arising from the co-occurrence of numerous regioisomers. Ultimately, development of sensitive analytical techniques that enable rapid and unambiguous identification of FAHFAs is integral to understanding their diverse physiological functions in health and disease. While a battery of mass spectrometry (MS) based methods for complex lipid analysis has been developed, FAHFA identification presents specific challenges to conventional approaches. Notably, while the MS2 product ion spectra of [FAHFA - H]¯ anions afford the assignment of fatty acid (FA) and hydroxy fatty acid (HFA) constituents, FAHFA regioisomers are usually indistinguishable by this approach. Here, we report the development of a novel MS-based technique employing charge inversion ion/ion reactions with tris-phenanthroline magnesium complex dications, Mg(Phen)32+, to selectively and efficiently derivatize [FAHFA - H]¯ anions in the gas phase, yielding fixed-charge cations. Subsequent activation of [FAHFA - H + MgPhen2]+ cations yield product ions that facilitate the assignment of FA and HFA constituents, pinpoints unsaturation sites within the FA moiety, and elucidates ester linkage regiochemistry. Collectively, the presented approach represents a rapid, entirely gas-phase method for near-complete FAHFA structural elucidation and confident isomer discrimination without the requirement for authentic FAHFA standards.
    Keywords:  FAHFAs; Gas-phase charge inversion; Shotgun lipidomics; Tandem mass spectrometry
  3. J Vis Exp. 2020 Aug 18.
      Isobaric tandem mass tag (TMT) labeling is widely used in proteomics because of its high multiplexing capacity and deep proteome coverage. Recently, an expanded 16-plex TMT method has been introduced, which further increases the throughput of proteomic studies. In this manuscript, we present an optimized protocol for 16-plex TMT-based deep-proteome profiling, including protein sample preparation, enzymatic digestion, TMT labeling reaction, two-dimensional reverse-phase liquid chromatography (LC/LC) fractionation, tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), and computational data processing. The crucial quality control steps and improvements in the process specific for the 16-plex TMT analysis are highlighted. This multiplexed process offers a powerful tool for profiling a variety of complex samples such as cells, tissues, and clinical specimens. More than 10,000 proteins and posttranslational modifications such as phosphorylation, methylation, acetylation, and ubiquitination in highly complex biological samples from up to 16 different samples can be quantified in a single experiment, providing a potent tool for basic and clinical research.
  4. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2020 Sep 12.
      Daily physical exercise is an essential part of life and is required for remaining healthy; it enhances therapeutic efficacy in the elderly and prevents age-related diseases associated with lipid profile alterations, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and dementia. To more efficiently analyse the lipid profiles and unveil the effect of exercise in aged mice, we optimized our study by examining the effects of using ionization modifiers in the mobile phase and in-source fragmentation of lysophospholipids on the simultaneous analysis of fatty acids (FAs) including hydroxyl fatty acids, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and glycerolipids using nanoflow ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry. We applied the optimization to investigate the lipidomic plasma alterations in young (7 weeks old) and aged (84 weeks old) mice (C57BL/6) subjected to treadmill exercise. Of the 390 identified lipid species, 159 were quantified to investigate ageing-related lipid species responsive to physical exercise. In particular, circulating lysophosphatidylcholine and lysophosphatidylethanolamine levels showed a significant decrease, and lysophosphatidic acid showed a simultaneous increase with ageing. The saturated FA (16:0 and 18:0) increased with ageing while the unsaturated FA 22:6 decreased. Dihydroxy fatty acid (18:1_2OH) showed an exercise-induced recovery against ageing. It is notable that the levels of five triacylglycerol species significantly increased by as much as threefold with ageing, but their levels largely recovered to those observed in the young mice after exercise. These findings can help understand the influence of ageing on lipid perturbation and the role of physical exercise on lipidomic recovery in response to ageing-associated loss of physical status. Graphical abstract.
    Keywords:  Ageing effect; Mouse; Physical exercise; Plasma lipids; nUHPLC-ESI-MS/MS
  5. Biomolecules. 2020 Sep 09. pii: E1302. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Changes in lipid metabolism are involved in several pathological conditions, such as cancer. Among lipids, eicosanoids are potent inflammatory mediators, synthesized from polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which coexist with other lipid-derived ones, including endocannabinoids (ECs) and N-acylethanolamides (NAEs). In this work, a bioanalytical assay for 12 PUFAs/eicosanoids and 20 ECs/NAEs in cell culture medium and human biofluids was validated over a linear range of 0.1-2.5 ng/mL. A fast pretreatment method consisting of protein precipitation with acetonitrile followed by a double step liquid-liquid extraction was developed. The final extracts were injected onto a Kinetex ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) XB-C18 column with a gradient elution of 0.1% formic acid in water and methanol/acetonitrile (5:1; v/v) mobile phase. Chromatographic separation was followed by detection with a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer operating both in positive and negative ion-mode. A full validation was carried out in a small amount of cell culture medium and then applied to osteosarcoma cell-derived products. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first lipid profiling of bone tumor cell lines (SaOS-2 and MG-63) and their secretome. Our method was also partially validated in other biological matrices, such as serum and urine, ensuring its broad applicability as a powerful tool for lipidomic translational research.
    Keywords:  N-acylethanolamides; eicosanoids; endocannabinoids; lipidomics; mass spectrometry; osteosarcoma; polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
  6. Anal Methods. 2020 Sep 09.
      Liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) is one of the most powerful tools in identifying and quantitating molecular species. Decreasing column diameter from the millimeter to micrometer scale is now a well-developed method which allows for sample limited analysis. Specific fabrication of capillary columns is required for proper implementation and optimization when working in the nanoflow regime. Coupling the capillary column to the mass spectrometer for electrospray ionization (ESI) requires reduction of the subsequent emitter tip. Reduction of column diameter to capillary scale can produce improved chromatographic efficiency and the reduction of emitter tip size increased sensitivity of the electrospray process. This improved sensitivity and ionization efficiency is valuable in analysis of precious biological samples where analytes vary in size, ion affinity, and concentration. In this review we will discuss common approaches and challenges in implementing nLC-MS methods and how the advantages can be leveraged to investigate a wide range of biomolecules.
  7. Biochimie. 2020 Sep 02. pii: S0300-9084(20)30204-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Specific diets for cancer patients have the potential to offer an adjuvant modality to conventional anticancer therapy. If the concept of starving cancer cells from nutrients to inhibit tumor growth is quite simple, the translation into the clinics is not straightforward. Several diets have been described including the Calorie-restricted diet based on a reduction in carbohydrate intake and the Ketogenic diet wherein the low carbohydrate content is compensated by a high fat intake. As for other diets that deviate from normal composition only by one or two amino acids, these diets most often revealed a reduction in tumor growth in mice, in particular when associated with chemo- or radiotherapy. By contrast, in cancer patients, the interest of these diets is almost exclusively supported by case reports precluding any conclusions on their real capacity to influence disease outcome. In parallel, the field of tumor lipid metabolism has emerged in the last decade offering a better understanding of how fatty acids are captured, synthesized or stored as lipid droplets in cancers. Fatty acids participate to cancer cell survival in the hypoxic and acidic tumor microenvironment and also support proliferation and invasiveness. Interestingly, while such addiction for fatty acids may account for cancer progression associated with high fat diet, it could also represent an Achilles heel for tumors. In particular n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids represent a class of lipids that can exert potent cytotoxic effects in tumors and therefore represent an attractive diet supplementation to improve cancer patient outcomes.
    Keywords:  Amino-acid; Calorie-restriction; Cancer; Diet; Ketogenic; Omega-3 PUFA
  8. Cell Metab. 2020 Aug 31. pii: S1550-4131(20)30424-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Stem cells reside in specialized niches that are critical for their function. Upon activation, hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs) exit their niche to generate the outer root sheath (ORS), but a subset of ORS progeny returns to the niche to resume an SC state. Mechanisms of this fate reversibility are unclear. We show that the ability of ORS cells to return to the SC state requires suppression of a metabolic switch from glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation and glutamine metabolism that occurs during early HFSC lineage progression. HFSC fate reversibility and glutamine metabolism are regulated by the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2)-Akt signaling axis within the niche. Deletion of mTORC2 results in a failure to re-establish the HFSC niche, defective hair follicle regeneration, and compromised long-term maintenance of HFSCs. These findings highlight the importance of spatiotemporal control of SC metabolic states in organ homeostasis.
    Keywords:  Akt; Hif1; cell fate; glutamine; hair follicle; hypoxia; mTOR; mTORC2; metabolism; stem cell
  9. Metabolomics. 2020 Sep 11. 16(9): 99
      Direct infusion untargeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics allows for rapid insight into a sample's metabolic activity. However, analysis is often complicated by the large array of detected m/z values and the difficulty to prioritize important m/z and simultaneously annotate their putative identities. To address this challenge, we developed MetaboShiny, a novel R/RShiny-based metabolomics package featuring data analysis, database- and formula-prediction-based annotation and visualization. To demonstrate this, we reproduce and further explore a MetaboLights metabolomics bioinformatics study on lung cancer patient urine samples. MetaboShiny enables rapid and rigorous analysis and interpretation of direct infusion untargeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics data.
    Keywords:  Annotation; Direct infusion; Machine learning; Mass spectrometry; Metabolomics; R; Statistics
  10. Nat Rev Genet. 2020 Sep 09.
      Molecular inputs to chromatin via cellular metabolism are modifiers of the epigenome. These inputs - which include both nutrient availability as a result of diet and growth factor signalling - are implicated in linking the environment to the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and cell identity. Recent studies have demonstrated that these inputs are much broader than had previously been known, encompassing metabolism from a wide variety of sources, including alcohol and microbiotal metabolism. These factors modify DNA and histones and exert specific effects on cell biology, systemic physiology and pathology. In this Review, we discuss the nature of these molecular networks, highlight their role in mediating cellular responses and explore their modifiability through dietary and pharmacological interventions.
  11. Nature. 2020 Sep 09.
      Mitochondria require nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) in order to carry out the fundamental processes that fuel respiration and mediate cellular energy transduction. Mitochondrial NAD+ transporters have been identified in yeast and plants1,2 but their very existence is controversial in mammals3-5. Here we demonstrate that mammalian mitochondria are capable of taking up intact NAD+ and identify SLC25A51 (an essential6,7 mitochondrial protein of previously unknown function, also known as MCART1) as a mammalian mitochondrial NAD+ transporter. Loss of SLC25A51 decreases mitochondrial but not whole-cell NAD+ content, impairs mitochondrial respiration, and blocks the uptake of NAD+ into isolated mitochondria. Conversely, overexpression of SLC25A51 or a nearly identical paralog, SLC25A52, increases mitochondrial NAD+ levels and restores NAD+ uptake into yeast mitochondria lacking endogenous NAD+ transporters. Together, these findings identify SLC25A51 as the first transporter capable of importing NAD+ into mammalian mitochondria.
  12. Molecules. 2020 Sep 09. pii: E4116. [Epub ahead of print]25(18):
      We developed a simple and robust liquid chromatographic/mass spectrometric method (LC-MS) for the quantitative analysis of 10 sterols from the late part of cholesterol synthesis (zymosterol, dehydrolathosterol, 7-dehydrodesmosterol, desmosterol, zymostenol, lathosterol, FFMAS, TMAS, lanosterol, and dihydrolanosterol) from cultured human hepatocytes in a single chromatographic run using a pentafluorophenyl (PFP) stationary phase. The method also avails on a minimized sample preparation procedure in order to obtain a relatively high sample throughput. The method was validated on 10 sterol standards that were detected in a single chromatographic LC-MS run without derivatization. Our developed method can be used in research or clinical applications for disease-related detection of accumulated cholesterol intermediates. Disorders in the late part of cholesterol synthesis lead to severe malformation in human patients. The developed method enables a simple, sensitive, and fast quantification of sterols, without the need of extended knowledge of the LC-MS technique, and represents a new analytical tool in the rising field of cholesterolomics.
    Keywords:  LC-MS; PFP; cholesterol; cholesterol synthesis; pentafluorophenyl; sterol intermediates