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.
Project description:Sphingolipids are a highly diverse category of bioactive compounds. This article describes methods that have been validated for the extraction, liquid chromatographic (LC) separation, identification and quantitation of sphingolipids by electrospray ionization, tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) using triple quadrupole (QQQ, API 3000) and quadrupole-linear-ion trap (API 4000 QTrap, operating in QQQ mode) mass spectrometers. Advantages of the QTrap included: greater sensitivity, similar ionization efficiencies for sphingolipids with ceramide versus dihydroceramide backbones, and the ability to identify the ceramide backbone of sphingomyelins using a pseudo-MS3 protocol. Compounds that can be readily quantified using an internal standard cocktail developed by the LIPID MAPS Consortium are: sphingoid bases and sphingoid base 1-phosphates, more complex species such as ceramides, ceramide 1-phosphates, sphingomyelins, mono- and di-hexosylceramides, and these complex sphingolipids with dihydroceramide backbones. With minor modifications, glucosylceramides and galactosylceramides can be distinguished, and more complex species such as sulfatides can also be quantified, when the internal standards are available. LC ESI-MS/MS can be utilized to quantify a large number of structural and signaling sphingolipids using commercially available internal standards. The application of these methods is illustrated with RAW264.7 cells, a mouse macrophage cell line. These methods should be useful for a wide range of focused (sphingo)lipidomic investigations.
Project description:Sphingolipids (SLs) serve as structural and signaling molecules in regulating various cellular events and growth. Given that SLs contain various bioactive species possessing distinct roles, quantitative analysis of sphingolipidome is essential for elucidating their differential requirement during development. Herein we developed a comprehensive sphingolipidomic profiling approach using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry coupled with multiple reaction monitoring mode (LC-MS-MRM). SL profiling of C. elegans revealed organism-specific, development-dependent and environment-driven metabolic features. We showed for the first time the presence of a series of sphingoid bases in C. elegans sphingolipid profiles, although only C17-sphingoid base is used for generating complex SLs. Moreover, we successfully resolved growth-, temperature- and nutrition-dependent SL profiles at both individual metabolite-level and network-level. Sphingolipidomic analysis uncovered significant SL composition changes throughout development, with SMs/GluCers ratios dramatically increasing from larva to adult stage whereas total sphingolipid levels exhibiting opposing trends. We also identified a temperature-dependent alteration in SMs/GluCers ratios, suggesting an organism-specific strategy for environmental adaptation. Finally, we found serine-biased GluCer increases between serine- versus alanine-supplemented worms. Our study builds a "reference" resource for future SL analysis in the worm, provides insights into natural variability and plasticity of eukaryotic multicellular sphingolipid composition and is highly valuable for investigating their functional significance.
Project description:A comprehensive identification of sphingoid bases and ceramides in wild Cordyceps was performed by integrating a sequential chromatographic enrichment procedure and an UHPLC-ultrahigh definition-Q-TOF-MS based sphingolipidomic approach. A total of 43 sphingoid bases and 303 ceramides were identified from wild Cordyceps, including 12 new sphingoid base analogues and 159 new ceramide analogues based on high-resolution MS and MS/MS data, isotope distribution, matching with the comprehensive personal sphingolipid database, confirmation by sphingolipid standards and chromatographic retention time rule. The immunosuppressive bioassay results demonstrated that Cordyceps sphingoid base fraction exhibits more potent immunosuppressive activity than ceramide fraction, elucidating the immunosuppressive ingredients of wild Cordyceps. This study represented the most comprehensive identification of sphingoid bases and ceramides from a natural source. The findings of this study provided an insight into therapeutic application of wild Cordyceps.
Project description:Urinary extracellular vesicles (EVs), including microvesicles and exosomes, play several important roles in cell biology and serve as potential biomarkers in various kidney diseases. Although they have differential biophysical properties, specific biomarkers are required to discriminate these EVs during isolation/purification. The present study aimed to define differential lipidome profiles of urinary microvesicles vs. exosomes. Urine samples collected from eight healthy individuals were pooled and underwent lipid extraction using 2:1(v/v) chloroform/methanol. The recovered lipids were resolved by thin layer liquid chromatography (TLC) and analyzed by MALDI-TOF MS. From three and five TLC bands observed in microvesicles and exosomes, respectively, several fatty acids, glycerolipids and phospholipids were identified from both EVs without clear differential patterns. However, their sphingolipid profiles were unique. Ceramide phosphates (CerP), hexosyl sphingoid bases (HexSph), lactosyl ceramides (LacCer), mannosyl di-PI-ceramides (M(IP)2?C), sulfatides hexosyl ceramide (SHexCer) and sulfatides hexoxyl sphingoid bases (SHexSph) were detectable only in urinary exosomes, whereas phosphatidylinositol ceramides (PI-Cer) were detectable only in urinary microvesicles. The presence of CerP only in urinary exosomes was successfully validated by dot blot analysis. Our extensive lipidome analyses of urinary microvesicles vs. exosomes provide potential lipidome markers to discriminate exosomes from microvesicles and may lead to better understanding of EVs biogenesis.
Project description:Sphingolipids and phosphoinositides both play signaling roles in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Although previous data indicate independent functions for these two classes of lipids, recent genetic studies have suggested interactions between phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) phosphate effectors and sphingolipid biosynthetic enzymes. The present study was undertaken to further define the effects of phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PtdIns(4)P) metabolism on cell sphingolipid metabolism. The data presented indicate that deletion of SAC1, a gene encoding a PtdIns(4)P phosphatase, increased levels of most sphingolipid species, including sphingoid bases, sphingoid base phosphates, and phytoceramide. In contrast, sac1Delta dramatically reduced inositol phosphosphingolipids, which result from the addition of a PtdIns-derived phosphoinositol head group to ceramides through Aur1p. Deletion of SAC1 decreased PtdIns dramatically in both steady-state and pulse labeling studies, suggesting that the observed effects on sphingolipids may result from modulation of the availability of PtdIns as a substrate for Aur1p. Supporting this hypothesis, acute attenuation of PtdIns(4)P production through Stt4p immediately increased PtdIns and subsequently reduced sphingoid bases. This reduction was overcome by the inhibition of Aur1p. Moreover, modulation of sphingoid bases through perturbation of PtdIns(4)P metabolism initiated sphingolipid-dependent biological effects, supporting the biological relevance for this route of regulating sphingolipids. These findings suggest that, in addition to potential signaling effects of PtdInsP effectors on sphingolipid metabolism, PtdIns kinases may exert substantial effects on cell sphingolipid profiles at a metabolic level through modulation of PtdIns available as a substrate for complex sphingolipid synthesis.
Project description:We used a HPLC-MS/MS methodology for determination of a basic metabolomic profile (18:1,18:0 sphingoid backbone, C(14)-C(26) N-acyl part) of "normal" sphingolipid levels in human serum and plasma. Blood was collected from healthy males and nonpregnant females under fasting and nonfasting conditions with and without anticoagulants. Sphingolipids analyzed included sphingoid bases, sphingosine and dihydrosphingosine, their 1-phosphates (S1P and dhS1P), molecular species (C(n)-) of ceramide (Cer), sphingomyelin (SM), hexosylceramide (HexCer), lactosylceramide (LacCer), and Cer 1-phosphate (Cer1P). SM, LacCer, HexCer, Cer, and Cer1P constituted 87.7, 5.8, 3.4, 2.8, and 0.15% of total sphingolipids, respectively. The abundant circulating SM was C(16)-SM (64.0 µM), and it increased with fasting (100 µM). The abundant LacCer was C(16)-LacCer (10.0 µM) and the abundant HexCer was C(24)-HexCer (2.5 µM). The abundant Cer, C(24)-Cer (4.0 µM), was not influenced by fasting; however, levels of C(16)-C(20) Cers were decreased in response to fasting. S1P levels were higher in serum than plasma (0.68 µM vs. 0.32 µM). We also determined levels of sphingoid bases and SM species in isolated lipoprotein classes. HDL(3) was the major carrier of S1P, dhS1P, and Sph, and LDL was the major carrier of Cer and dhSph. Per particle, VLDL contained the highest levels of SM, Cer, and S1P. HPLC-MS/MS should provide a tool for clinical testing of circulating bioactive sphingolipids in human blood.
Project description:The cleavage of sphingoid base phosphates by sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) lyase to produce phosphoethanolamine and a fatty aldehyde is the final degradative step in the sphingolipid metabolic pathway. We have studied mice with an inactive S1P lyase gene and have found that, in addition to the expected increase of sphingoid base phosphates, other sphingolipids (including sphingosine, ceramide, and sphingomyelin) were substantially elevated in the serum and /or liver of these mice. This latter increase is consistent with a reutilization of the sphingosine backbone for sphingolipid synthesis due to its inability to exit the sphingolipid metabolic pathway. Furthermore, the S1P lyase deficiency resulted in changes in the levels of serum and liver lipids not directly within the sphingolipid pathway, including phospholipids, triacyglycerol, diacylglycerol, and cholesterol. Even though lipids in serum and lipid storage were elevated in liver, adiposity was reduced in the S1P lyase-deficient mice. Microarray analysis of lipid metabolism genes in liver showed that the S1P lyase deficiency caused widespread changes in their expression pattern. These results demonstrate that S1P lyase is a key regulator of the levels of multiple sphingolipid substrates and reveal functional links between the sphingolipid metabolic pathway and other lipid metabolic pathways that may be mediated by shared lipid substrates and changes in gene expression programs. The disturbance of lipid homeostasis by altered sphingolipid levels may be relevant to metabolic diseases. Overall design: RNA samples from liver for three sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase knock-out and three WT mice.
Project description:The cleavage of sphingoid base phosphates by sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) lyase to produce phosphoethanolamine and a fatty aldehyde is the final degradative step in the sphingolipid metabolic pathway. We have studied mice with an inactive S1P lyase gene and have found that, in addition to the expected increase of sphingoid base phosphates, other sphingolipids (including sphingosine, ceramide, and sphingomyelin) were substantially elevated in the serum and /or liver of these mice. This latter increase is consistent with a reutilization of the sphingosine backbone for sphingolipid synthesis due to its inability to exit the sphingolipid metabolic pathway. Furthermore, the S1P lyase deficiency resulted in changes in the levels of serum and liver lipids not directly within the sphingolipid pathway, including phospholipids, triacyglycerol, diacylglycerol, and cholesterol. Even though lipids in serum and lipid storage were elevated in liver, adiposity was reduced in the S1P lyase-deficient mice. Microarray analysis of lipid metabolism genes in liver showed that the S1P lyase deficiency caused widespread changes in their expression pattern. These results demonstrate that S1P lyase is a key regulator of the levels of multiple sphingolipid substrates and reveal functional links between the sphingolipid metabolic pathway and other lipid metabolic pathways that may be mediated by shared lipid substrates and changes in gene expression programs. The disturbance of lipid homeostasis by altered sphingolipid levels may be relevant to metabolic diseases. Experiment Overall Design: RNA samples from liver for three sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase knock-out and three WT mice.
Project description:Sphingolipid concentrations have been associated with risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Because sphingolipids can be synthesized de novo from saturated fatty acids (SFA), dietary fatty acids may affect plasma sphingolipid concentrations. We aimed to evaluate dietary fat and protein intakes in relation to circulating sphingolipid levels. We used cross-sectional data from 2860 ethnic Chinese Singaporeans collected from 2004-2007. Nutrient intakes were estimated on the basis of a validated 159-item food frequency questionnaire. We quantified 79 molecularly distinct sphingolipids in a large-scale lipidomic evaluation from plasma samples. Higher saturated fat intake was associated with higher concentrations of 16:1;O2 sphingolipids including ceramides, monohexosylcermides, dihexosylceramides, sphingomyelins, and sphingosine 1-phosphates. Higher polyunsaturated fat intake was associated with lower plasma long-chain ceramides and long-chain monohexosylcermide concentrations. Protein intake was inversely associated with concentrations of most subclasses of sphingolipids, with the exception of sphingolipids containing a 16:1;O2 sphingoid base. Lower intake of saturated fat and higher intake of polyunsaturated fat and protein may decrease plasma concentrations of several sphingolipid classes. These findings may represent a novel biological mechanism for the impact of nutrient intakes on cardio-metabolic health.
Project description:Systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) is a chronic multi-organ autoimmune disease. Genetic and environmental factors contribute to disease onset and severity. Sphingolipids are signaling molecules involved in regulating cell functions and have been associated with multiple genetic disease processes. African-Americans are more likely to suffer from SLE morbidity than Whites. The Medical University of South Carolina has banked plasma samples from a well-characterized lupus cohort that includes African-Americans and Whites. This study examined the influence of race on plasma sphingolipid profiles in SLE patients and association of sphingolipid levels with comorbid atherosclerosis and SLE disease activity. Mass spectrometry revealed that healthy African-Americans had higher sphingomyelin levels and lower lactosylcermide levels compared to healthy Whites. SLE patients, irrespective of race, had higher levels of ceramides, and sphingoid bases (sphingosine and dihydrosphingosine) and their phosphates compared to healthy subjects. Compared to African-American controls, African-American SLE patients had higher levels of ceramides, hexosylceramides, sphingosine and dihydrosphingosine 1-phosphate. Compared to White controls, White SLE patients exhibited higher levels of sphingoid bases and their phosphates, but lower ratios of C16:0 ceramide/sphingosine 1-phosphate and C24:1 ceramide/sphingosine 1-phosphate. White SLE patients with atherosclerosis exhibited lower levels of sphingoid bases compared to White SLE patients without atherosclerosis. In contrast, African-American SLE patients with atherosclerosis had higher levels of sphingoid bases and sphingomyelins compared to African-American SLE patients without atherosclerosis. Compared to White SLE patients with atherosclerosis, African-American SLE patients with atherosclerosis had higher levels of select sphingolipids. Plasma levels of sphingosine, C16:0 ceramide/sphingosine 1-phosphate ratio and C24:1 ceramide/sphingosine 1-phosphate ratio significantly correlated with SLEDAI in the African-American but not White SLE patients. The C16:0 ceramide/sphingosine 1-phosphate ratio in SLE patients, and levels of C18:1 and C26:1 lactosylcermides, C20:0 hexosylceramide, and sphingoid bases in SLE patients with atherosclerosis could be dependent on race. Further ethnic studies in SLE cohorts are necessary to verify use of sphingolipidomics as complementary diagnostic tool.