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A Nano Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography–High Resolution Mass Spectrometry Approach for Global Metabolomic Profiling and Case Study on Drug-Resistant Multiple Myeloma

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journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2014, 00:00 by Drew R. Jones, Zhiping Wu, Dharminder Chauhan, Kenneth C. Anderson, Junmin Peng
Global metabolomics relies on highly reproducible and sensitive detection of a wide range of metabolites in biological samples. Here we report the optimization of metabolome analysis by nanoflow ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution orbitrap mass spectrometry. Reliable peak features were extracted from the LC–MS runs based on mandatory detection in duplicates and additional noise filtering according to blank injections. The run-to-run variation in peak area showed a median of 14%, and the false discovery rate during a mock comparison was evaluated. To maximize the number of peak features identified, we systematically characterized the effect of sample loading amount, gradient length, and MS resolution. The number of features initially rose and later reached a plateau as a function of sample amount, fitting a hyperbolic curve. Longer gradients improved unique feature detection in part by time-resolving isobaric species. Increasing the MS resolution up to 120000 also aided in the differentiation of near isobaric metabolites, but higher MS resolution reduced the data acquisition rate and conferred no benefits, as predicted from a theoretical simulation of possible metabolites. Moreover, a biphasic LC gradient allowed even distribution of peak features across the elution, yielding markedly more peak features than the linear gradient. Using this robust nUPLC-HRMS platform, we were able to consistently analyze ∼6500 metabolite features in a single 60 min gradient from 2 mg of yeast, equivalent to ∼50 million cells. We applied this optimized method in a case study of drug (bortezomib) resistant and drug-sensitive multiple myeloma cells. Overall, 18% of metabolite features were matched to KEGG identifiers, enabling pathway enrichment analysis. Principal component analysis and heat map data correctly clustered isogenic phenotypes, highlighting the potential for hundreds of small molecule biomarkers of cancer drug resistance.