Comprehensive identification of sphingolipid species by in silico retention time and tandem mass spectral library.J Cheminform 2017; 9:19JC
Liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) is used for comprehensive metabolome and lipidome analyses. Compound identification relies on similarity matching of the retention time (RT), precursor m/z, isotopic ratio, and MS/MS spectrum with reference compounds. For sphingolipids, however, little information on the RT and MS/MS references is available.
Negative-ion ESI-MS/MS is a useful method for the structural characterization of sphingolipids. We created theoretical MS/MS spectra for 21 sphingolipid classes in human and mouse (109,448 molecules), with substructure-level annotation of unique fragment ions by MS-FINDER software. The existence of ceramides with β-hydroxy fatty acids was confirmed in mouse tissues based on cheminformatic- and quantum chemical evidences. The RT of sphingo- and glycerolipid species was also predicted for our LC condition. With this information, MS-DIAL software for untargeted metabolome profiling could identify 415 unique structures including 282 glycerolipids and 133 sphingolipids from human cells (HEK and HeLa) and mouse tissues (ear and liver).
MS-DIAL and MS-FINDER software programs can identify 42 lipid classes (21 sphingo- and 21 glycerolipids) with the in silico RT and MS/MS library. The library is freely available as Microsoft Excel files at the software section of our RIKEN PRIMe website (http://prime.psc.riken.jp/).