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Sphingolipidomics: methods for the comprehensive analysis of sphingolipids.


ABSTRACT: Sphingolipids comprise a highly diverse and complex class of molecules that serve as both structural components of cellular membranes and signaling molecules capable of eliciting apoptosis, differentiation, chemotaxis, and other responses in mammalian cells. Comprehensive or "sphingolipidomic" analyses (structure specific, quantitative analyses of all sphingolipids, or at least all members of a critical subset) are required in order to elucidate the role(s) of sphingolipids in a given biological context because so many of the sphingolipids in a biological system are inter-converted structurally and metabolically. Despite the experimental challenges posed by the diversity of sphingolipid-regulated cellular responses, the detection and quantitation of multiple sphingolipids in a single sample has been made possible by combining classical analytical separation techniques such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with state-of-the-art tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) techniques. As part of the Lipid MAPS consortium an internal standard cocktail was developed that comprises the signaling metabolites (i.e. sphingoid bases, sphingoid base-1-phosphates, ceramides, and ceramide-1-phosphates) as well as more complex species such as mono- and di-hexosylceramides and sphingomyelin. Additionally, the number of species that can be analyzed is growing rapidly with the addition of fatty acyl Co-As, sulfatides, and other complex sphingolipids as more internal standards are becoming available. The resulting LC-MS/MS analyses are one of the most analytically rigorous technologies that can provide the necessary sensitivity, structural specificity, and quantitative precision with high-throughput for "sphingolipidomic" analyses in small sample quantities. This review summarizes historical and state-of-the-art analytical techniques used for the identification, structure determination, and quantitation of sphingolipids from free sphingoid bases through more complex sphingolipids such as sphingomyelins, lactosylceramides, and sulfatides including those intermediates currently considered sphingolipid "second messengers". Also discussed are some emerging techniques and other issues remaining to be resolved for the analysis of the full sphingolipidome.

SUBMITTER: Haynes CA 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2765038 | BioStudies | 2009-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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