bims-mascan Biomed News
on Mass spectrometry in cancer research
Issue of 2022‒05‒08
eighteen papers selected by
Giovanny Rodriguez Blanco
University of Edinburgh

  1. J Lipid Res. 2022 Apr 27. pii: S0022-2275(22)00052-9. [Epub ahead of print] 100219
      In-depth structural characterization of lipids is an essential component of lipidomics. There has been a rapid expansion of mass spectrometry methods that are capable of resolving lipid isomers at various structural levels over the past decade. These developments finally make deep-lipidotyping possible, which provides new means to study lipid metabolism and discover new lipid biomarkers. In this review, we discuss recent advancements in tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) methods for identification of complex lipids beyond the species (known headgroup information) and molecular species (known chain composition) levels. These include identification at the levels of carbon-carbon double bond (C=C) location and sn-position as well as characterization of acyl chain modifications. We also discuss the integration of isomer-resolving MS/MS methods with different lipid analysis workflows and their applications in lipidomics. The results showcase the distinct capabilities of deep-lipidotyping in untangling the metabolism of individual isomers and sensitive phenotyping by using relative fractional quantitation of the isomers.
    Keywords:  branched-chain fatty acids; double bond location; glycerolipids; glycerophospholipids; lipid isomers; lipidomics; liquid chromatography; phenotyping; sn-position; tandem mass spectrometry
  2. STAR Protoc. 2022 Jun 17. 3(2): 101345
      Analyzing the metabolic dependencies of tumor cells is vital for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Here, we describe a protocol for 13C-stable glucose and glutamine isotope tracing in mice HER2+ breast cancer brain metastatic lesions. We describe how to inject cancer cells intracardially to generate brain metastatic lesions in mice. We then detail how to perform 13C-stable isotope infusion in mice with established brain metastasis. Finally, we outline steps for sample collection, processing for metabolite extraction, and analyzing mass spectrometry data. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Parida et al. (2022).
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cell Biology; Cell culture; Mass Spectrometry; Metabolism; Metabolomics
  3. J Lipid Res. 2022 Apr 27. pii: S0022-2275(22)00051-7. [Epub ahead of print] 100218
      One challenge remaining in the methodology of lipidomics is to determine and quantify the precise content of complex lipidomes to the exact molecular species. Often, multiple methods are needed to achieve sufficient lipidomic coverage to make these determinations. Multiplexed targeted assays offer a practical alternative to enable quantitative lipidomics amenable to quality control standards within a scalable platform. Herein, we developed a multiplexed normal phase liquid chromatography-hydrophilic interaction chromatography multiple reaction monitoring (NPLC-HILIC MRM) method that quantifies lipid molecular species across over 20 lipid classes spanning wide polarities in a single 20-minute run. Analytical challenges such as in-source fragmentation, isomer separations, and concentration dynamics were addressed to ensure confidence in selectivity, quantification, and reproducibility. Utilizing multiple MS/MS product ions per lipid species not only improved the confidence of lipid identification, but also enabled the determination of relative abundances of positional isomers in samples. Lipid class-based calibration curves were applied to interpolate lipid concentrations and guide sample dilution. Analytical validation was performed following FDA Bioanalytical Method Validation Guidance for Industry. We demonstrate repeatable and robust quantitation of 900 lipid species measured in NIST-SRM-1950 plasma with over 700 lipids, achieving inter-assay variability below 25%. Using this method, we identified mice plasma lipidome alterations following treating of mice with a potent glucosylceramide synthase inhibitor, Benzoxazole 1 (BZ1). We observed expected reductions in glycosphingolipids and report additional alterations beyond glycosphingolipid metabolism. Our platform provides a streamlined strategy for lipid biomarker discovery that can be readily adapted for additional analytes and deployed across multiple labs.
    Keywords:  Benzoxazole 1; FDA bioanalytical method validation guidance for industry; glucosylceramide synthase; glycosphingolipid metabolism; hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC); normal phase liquid chromatography (NPLC); quantitative lipidomics; scheduled MRM; targeted lipidomics; triple quadrupole mass spectrometry
  4. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 ;9 857135
      The analysis of synovial tissue offers the potential for the comprehensive characterization of cell types involved in arthritis pathogenesis. The studies performed to date in synovial tissue have made it possible to define synovial pathotypes, which relate to disease severity and response to treatment. Lipidomics is the branch of metabolomics that allows the quantification and identification of lipids in different biological samples. Studies in animal models of arthritis and in serum/plasma from patients with arthritis suggest the involvement of different types of lipids (glycerophospholipids, glycerolipids, sphingolipids, oxylipins, fatty acids) in the pathogenesis of arthritis. We reviewed studies that quantified lipids in different types of tissues and their relationship with inflammation. We propose that combining lipidomics with currently used "omics" techniques can improve the information obtained from the analysis of synovial tissue, for a better understanding of pathogenesis and the development of new therapeutic strategies.
    Keywords:  arthritis; inflammation; lipidomics; synovial biopsies; synovitis
  5. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 May 10. 119(19): e2120595119
      SignificanceGlutamine is the most abundant amino acid in human plasma, although it is challenging to determine glutamine's metabolic fate noninvasively. In this work, we utilize established chemical methods to develop a platform for imaging glutamine metabolism using hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging. Using this strategy, we are able to spatially measure glutaminolysis in vivo as well as develop a biomarker for the inhibition of glutaminase. Combining this biomarker with isotope tracing metabolomics connects this inhibition to reduced glutamine contribution to the tricarboxylic acid cycle. This provides an approach for future imaging of glutamine metabolism in humans.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; magnetic resonance imaging; metabolic imaging; pancreatic cancer
  6. Cancer Biomark. 2022 ;33(4): 437-447
      Characterization of cellular metabolic states is a technical challenge in biomedicine. Cellular heterogeneity caused by inherent diversity in expression of metabolic enzymes or due to sensitivity of metabolic reactions to perturbations, necessitates single cell analysis of metabolism. Heterogeneity is typically seen in cancer and thus, single-cell metabolomics is expectedly useful in studying cancer progression, metastasis, and variations in cancer drug response. However, low sample volumes and analyte concentrations limit detection of critically important metabolites. Capillary microsampling-based mass spectrometry approaches are emerging as a promising solution for achieving single-cell omics. Herein, we focus on the recent advances in capillary microsampling-based mass spectrometry techniques for single-cell metabolomics. We discuss recent technical developments and applications to cancer medicine and drug discovery.
    Keywords:  Capillary microsampling-based single-cell analysis; cell-to-cell variability; mass spectrometry; metabolomics; single-cell applications
  7. Cell Rep Methods. 2022 Apr 25. 2(4): 100198
      We introduce Metis, a new plugin for the Perseus software aimed at analyzing quantitative multi-omics data based on metabolic pathways. Data from different omics types are connected through reactions of a genome-scale metabolic-pathway reconstruction. Metabolite concentrations connect through the reactants, while transcript, protein, and protein post-translational modification (PTM) data are associated through the enzymes catalyzing the reactions. Supported experimental designs include static comparative studies and time-series data. As an example for the latter, we combine circadian mouse liver multi-omics data and study the contribution of cycles of phosphoproteome and metabolome to enzyme activity regulation. Our analysis resulted in 52 pairs of cycling phosphosites and metabolites connected through a reaction. The time lags between phosphorylation and metabolite peak show non-uniform behavior, indicating a major contribution of phosphorylation in the modulation of enzymatic activity.
    Keywords:  Metis; Perseus; circadian rhythms; enzyme activity regulation; metabolic networks; metabolomics; multi-omics; phosphoproteomics; proteomics; transcriptomics
  8. iScience. 2022 May 20. 25(5): 104221
      Drugs used in combination can synergize to increase efficacy, decrease toxicity, and prevent drug resistance. While conventional high-throughput screens that rely on univariate data are incredibly valuable to identify promising drug candidates, phenotypic screening methodologies could be beneficial to provide deep insight into the molecular response of drug combination with a likelihood of improved clinical outcomes. We developed a high-content metabolomics drug screening platform using stable isotope-tracer direct-infusion mass spectrometry that informs an algorithm to determine synergy from multivariate phenomics data. Using a cancer drug library, we validated the drug screening, integrating isotope-enriched metabolomics data and computational data mining, on a panel of prostate cell lines and verified the synergy between CB-839 and docetaxel both in vitro (three-dimensional model) and in vivo. The proposed unbiased metabolomics screening platform can be used to rapidly generate phenotype-informed datasets and quantify synergy for combinatorial drug discovery.
    Keywords:  bioinformatics; metabolomics; omics; pharmacoinformatics
  9. J Proteome Res. 2022 May 03.
      Quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics has become a high-throughput technology for the identification and quantification of thousands of proteins in complex biological samples. Two frequently used tools, MaxQuant and MSstats, allow for the analysis of raw data and finding proteins with differential abundance between conditions of interest. To enable accessible and reproducible quantitative proteomics analyses in a cloud environment, we have integrated MaxQuant (including TMTpro 16/18plex), Proteomics Quality Control (PTXQC), MSstats, and MSstatsTMT into the open-source Galaxy framework. This enables the web-based analysis of label-free and isobaric labeling proteomics experiments via Galaxy's graphical user interface on public clouds. MaxQuant and MSstats in Galaxy can be applied in conjunction with thousands of existing Galaxy tools and integrated into standardized, sharable workflows. Galaxy tracks all metadata and intermediate results in analysis histories, which can be shared privately for collaborations or publicly, allowing full reproducibility and transparency of published analysis. To further increase accessibility, we provide detailed hands-on training materials. The integration of MaxQuant and MSstats into the Galaxy framework enables their usage in a reproducible way on accessible large computational infrastructures, hence realizing the foundation for high-throughput proteomics data science for everyone.
    Keywords:  LC-MS/MS; bioinformatics; cloud computing; proteomics; reproducibility; statistical modeling; tandem mass spectrometry
  10. Cell Death Discov. 2022 May 06. 8(1): 253
      Ferroptosis is a caspase-independent form of regulated cell death strongly linked to the accumulation of reactive lipid hydroperoxides. Lipid hydroperoxides are neutralized in cells by glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) and inhibitors of GPX4 are potent ferroptosis inducers with therapeutic potential in cancer. Here we report that siRNA-mediated silencing of the AMPK-related kinase NUAK2 suppresses cell death by small-molecule inducers of ferroptosis but not apoptosis. Mechanistically we find that NUAK2 suppresses the expression of GPX4 at the RNA level and enhances ferroptosis triggered by GPX4 inhibitors in a manner independent of its kinase activity. NUAK2 is amplified along with MDM4 in a subset of breast cancers, particularly the claudin-low subset, suggesting that this may predict vulnerability to GPX4 inhibitors. These findings identify a novel pathway regulating GPX4 expression as well as ferroptotic sensitivity with potential as a biomarker of breast cancer patients that might respond to GPX4 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy.
  11. Nat Commun. 2022 May 05. 13(1): 2458
      Species determination based on genetic evidence is an indispensable tool in archaeology, forensics, ecology, and food authentication. Most available analytical approaches involve compromises with regard to the number of detectable species, high cost due to low throughput, or a labor-intensive manual process. Here, we introduce "Species by Proteome INvestigation" (SPIN), a shotgun proteomics workflow for analyzing archaeological bone capable of querying over 150 mammalian species by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Rapid peptide chromatography and data-independent acquisition (DIA) with throughput of 200 samples per day reduce expensive MS time, whereas streamlined sample preparation and automated data interpretation save labor costs. We confirm the successful classification of known reference bones, including domestic species and great apes, beyond the taxonomic resolution of the conventional peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF)-based Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) method. In a blinded study of degraded Iron-Age material from Scandinavia, SPIN produces reproducible results between replicates, which are consistent with morphological analysis. Finally, we demonstrate the high throughput capabilities of the method in a high-degradation context by analyzing more than two hundred Middle and Upper Palaeolithic bones from Southern European sites with late Neanderthal occupation. While this initial study is focused on modern and archaeological mammalian bone, SPIN will be open and expandable to other biological tissues and taxa.
  12. Cancer Biomark. 2022 ;33(4): 427-436
      Targeted proteomics is a method that measures the amount of target proteins via liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and is used to verify and validate the candidate cancer biomarker proteins. Compared with antibody-based quantification methods such as ELISA, targeted proteomics enables rapid method development, simultaneous measurement of multiple proteins, and high-specificity detection of modifications. Moreover, by spiking the internal standard peptide, targeted proteomics detects the absolute amounts of marker proteins, which is essential for determining the cut-off values for diagnosis and thus for multi-institutional validation. With these unique features, targeted proteomics can seamlessly transfer cancer biomarker candidate proteins from the discovery phase to the verification and validation phases, thereby resulting in an accelerated cancer biomarker pipeline. Furthermore, understanding the basic principles, advantages, and disadvantages is necessary to effectively utilize targeted proteomics in cancer biomarker pipelines. This review aimed to introduce the technical principles of targeted proteomics for cancer biomarker verification and validation.
    Keywords:  Targeted proteomics; absolute quantification; liquid chromatography; mass spectrometry; quantification
  13. J Vis Exp. 2022 Apr 13.
      Bone development and homeostasis is dependent upon the differentiation and activity of bone forming osteoblasts. Osteoblast differentiation is sequentially characterized by proliferation followed by protein synthesis and ultimately bone matrix secretion. Proliferation and protein synthesis require a constant supply of amino acids. Despite this, very little is known about amino acid consumption in osteoblasts. Here we describe a very sensitive protocol that is designed to measure amino acid consumption using radiolabeled amino acids. This method is optimized to quantify changes in amino acid uptake that are associated with osteoblast proliferation or differentiation, drug or growth factor treatments, or various genetic manipulations. Importantly, this method can be used interchangeably to quantify amino acid consumption in cultured cell lines or primary cells in vitro or in isolated bone shafts ex vivo. Finally, our method can be easily adapted to measure the transport of any of the amino acids as well as glucose and other radiolabeled nutrients.
  14. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 822272
      Long-term elite controllers (LTECs) are a fascinating small subset of HIV individuals with viral and immunological HIV control in the long term that have been designated as models of an HIV functional cure. However, data on the LTEC phenotype are still scarce, and hence, the metabolomics and lipidomics signatures in the LTEC-extreme phenotype, LTECs with more than 10 years of viral and immunological HIV control, could be pivotal to finding the keys for functional HIV remission. Metabolomics and lipidomics analyses were performed using high-resolution mass spectrometry (ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-quadrupole time of flight [UHPLC-(ESI) qTOF] in plasma samples of 13 patients defined as LTEC-extreme, a group of 20 LTECs that lost viral and/or immunological control during the follow-up study (LTEC-losing) and 9 EC patients with short-term viral and immunological control (less than 5 years; no-LTEC patients). Long-term viral and immunological HIV-1 control was found to be strongly associated with elevated tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle function. Interestingly, of the nine metabolites identified in the TCA cycle, α-ketoglutaric acid (p = 0.004), a metabolite implicated in the activation of the mTOR complex, a modulator of HIV latency and regulator of several biological processes, was found to be a key metabolite in the persistent control. On the other hand, a lipidomics panel combining 45 lipid species showed an optimal percentage of separation and an ability to differentiate LTEC-extreme from LTEC-losing, revealing that an elevated lipidomics plasma profile could be a predictive factor for the reignition of viral replication in LTEC individuals.
    Keywords:  HIV infection; Kreb's cycle; elite controllers (ECs); lipidomics; long-term; mass spectrometry; metabolomics; viral
  15. STAR Protoc. 2022 Jun 17. 3(2): 101311
      Metabolites are crucial for bidirectional communication between host and microbiome. We describe a protocol for the isolation of organic and aqueous metabolites from mucosal scrapes and feces from mouse and human samples. Although some of the most reactive organic compounds may be lost, this approach generates a functionally reproducible metabolic extract containing both host and microbial compounds appropriate for quantitative mass spectrometry and functional characterization. Our mass spectrometry approach identifies low-abundant and difficult to identify microbially derived metabolites. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Bell et al. (2021) and Das et al. (2020).
    Keywords:  Mass Spectrometry; Metabolism; Metabolomics; Microbiology; Molecular Biology
  16. Mol Oncol. 2022 May 06.
      Strong evidence suggests that differences in the molecular composition of lipids in exosomes depend on the cell type, has an influence on cancer initiation and progression. Here, we analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) the lipidomic signature of exosomes derived from the human cell lines normal colon mucosa (NCM460D), and colorectal cancer (CRC) non-metastatic (HCT116) and metastatic (SW620), as well as exosomes isolated from the plasma of non-metastatic and metastatic CRC patients and healthy donors. Analysis of this exhaustive lipid study highlighted changes in some molecular species that were found in the cell lines and confirmed in the patients. For example, exosomes from primary cancer patients and non-metastatic cells compared to healthy donors and control cells displayed a common marked increase in phosphatidylcholine (PC) 34:1, phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) 36:2, sphingomyelin (SM) d18:1/16:0, hexosylceramide (HexCer) d18:1/24:0 and HexCer d18:1/24:1. Interestingly, these same lipids species were decreased in the metastatic cell line and patients. Further, levels of PE 34:2, PE 36:2 and phosphorylated PE p16:0/20:4 were also significantly decreased in metastatic conditions when compared to the non-metastatic counterparts. The only molecule species found markedly increased in metastatic conditions (in both patients and cells) when compared to controls was ceramide (Cer) d18:1/24:1. These decreases in lipid species in the extracellular vesicles might reflect function-associated changes in the metastatic cell membrane. Although these potential biomarkers need to be validated in a larger cohort, they provide new insight toward the use of clusters of lipid biomarkers rather than a single molecule for the diagnosis of different stages of CRC.
    Keywords:  biomarkers; colorectal cancer; exosomes; lipidome; mass spectroscopy
  17. Nat Commun. 2022 May 06. 13(1): 2493
      IRE1α is constitutively active in several cancers and can contribute to cancer progression. Activated IRE1α cleaves XBP1 mRNA, a key step in production of the transcription factor XBP1s. In addition, IRE1α cleaves select mRNAs through regulated IRE1α-dependent decay (RIDD). Accumulating evidence implicates IRE1α in the regulation of lipid metabolism. However, the roles of XBP1s and RIDD in this process remain ill-defined. In this study, transcriptome and lipidome profiling of triple negative breast cancer cells subjected to pharmacological inhibition of IRE1α reveals changes in lipid metabolism genes associated with accumulation of triacylglycerols (TAGs). We identify DGAT2 mRNA, encoding the rate-limiting enzyme in TAG biosynthesis, as a RIDD target. Inhibition of IRE1α, leads to DGAT2-dependent accumulation of TAGs in lipid droplets and sensitizes cells to nutritional stress, which is rescued by treatment with the DGAT2 inhibitor PF-06424439. Our results highlight the importance of IRE1α RIDD activity in reprograming cellular lipid metabolism.
  18. Prog Lipid Res. 2022 May 01. pii: S0163-7827(22)00020-0. [Epub ahead of print] 101165
      Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are structural components of membrane phospholipids, and influence cellular function via effects on membrane properties, and also by acting as a precursor pool for lipid mediators. These lipid mediators are formed via activation of pathways involving at least one step of dioxygen-dependent oxidation, and are consequently called oxylipins. Their biosynthesis can be either enzymatically-dependent, utilising the promiscuous cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase, or cytochrome P450 mixed function oxidase pathways, or nonenzymatic via free radical-catalyzed pathways. The oxylipins include the classical eicosanoids, comprising prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes, and also more recently identified lipid mediators. With the advent of new technologies there is growing interest in identifying these different lipid mediators and characterising their roles in health and disease. This review brings together contributions from some of those at the forefront of research into lipid mediators, who provide brief introductions and summaries of current understanding of the structure and functions of the main classes of nonclassical oxylipins. The topics covered include omega-3 and omega-6 PUFA biosynthesis pathways, focusing on the roles of the different fatty acid desaturase enzymes, oxidized linoleic acid metabolites, omega-3 PUFA-derived specialized pro-resolving mediators, elovanoids, nonenzymatically oxidized PUFAs, and fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids.
    Keywords:  Elovanoids; FAHFA; Fatty acid destaturase; Lipid mediators; Maresins; Omega-3 PUFA; Oxylipins; Protectins; Resolvins; SPM