Capillary Electrophoresis with Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometric Detection for Single-Cell Metabolomics

Department of Chemistry and the Beckman Institute, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.
Analytical Chemistry (Impact Factor: 5.83). 06/2009; 81(14):5858-64. DOI: 10.1021/ac900936g
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A method that enables metabolomic profiling of single cells and subcellular structures is described using capillary electrophoresis coupled to electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. A nebulizer-free coaxial sheath-flow interface completes the circuit and provides a stable electrospray, yielding a signal with a relative standard deviation of under 5% for the total ion electropherogram. Detection limits are in the low nanomolar range (i.e., <50 nM (<300 amol)) for a number of cell-to-cell signaling molecules, including acetylcholine (ACh), histamine, dopamine, and serotonin. The instrument also yields high-efficiency separations, e.g., approximately 600,000 for eluting ACh bands. The utility of this setup for single-cell metabolomic profiling is demonstrated with identified neurons from Aplysia californica--the R2 neuron and metacerebral cell (MCC). Single-cell electropherograms are reproducible, with a large number of metabolites detected; more than 100 compounds yield signals of over 10(4) counts from the injection of only 0.1% of the total content from a single MCC. Expected neurotransmitters are detected within the cells (ACh in R2 and serotonin in MCC), as are compounds that have molecular masses consistent with all of the naturally occurring amino acids (except cysteine). Tandem MS using a quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometer distinguishes ACh from isobaric compounds in the R2 neuron and demonstrates the ability of this method to characterize and identify metabolites present within single cells.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Analytical technologies that enable investigations at the single cell level facilitate a range of studies; here a lab-fabricated capillary electrophoresis-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (CE-ESI-MS) platform was used to analyze anionic metabolites from individual Aplysia californica neurons. The system employs a customized coaxial sheath-flow nanospray interface connected to a separation capillary, with the sheath liquid and separation buffer optimized to ensure a stable spray. The method provided good repeatability of separation and reliable detection sensitivity for 16 mono-, di- and triphosphate nucleosides. For a range of anionic analytes, including cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the detection limits were in the low nanomolar range (<22 nM). A large Aplysia R2 neuron was used to demonstrate the ability of CE-ESI-MS to quantitatively characterize anionic metabolites within individual cells, with 15 nucleotides and derivatives detected. Following the method validation process, we probed smaller, 60 μm diameter Aplysia sensory neurons where sample stacking was used as a simple on-line analyte preconcentration approach. The calculated energy balance ([ATP] + 0.5 × [ADP])/([AMP] + [ADP] + [ATP]) of these cells was comparable with the value obtained from bulk samples.
    The Analyst 09/2014; 139(22). DOI:10.1039/c4an01133c · 3.91 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Metabolomics is a new approach that is based on the systematic study of the full complement of metabolites in a biological sample. Metabolomics has the potential to fundamentally change clinical chemistry and, by extension, the fields of nutrition, toxicology, and medicine. However, it can be difficult to separate highly polar compounds. Mass spectrometry (MS), in combination with capillary electrophoresis (CE), gas chromatography (GC), or high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is the key analytical technique on which emerging "omics" technologies, namely, proteomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics, are based. In this review, we introduce various methods for the separation of highly polar metabolites.
    12/2012; 2(3):496-515. DOI:10.3390/metabo2030496
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In conjunction with genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics, plant metabolomics is providing large data sets that are paving the way towards a comprehensive and holistic understanding of plant growth, development, defense, and productivity. However, dilution effects from organ- and tissue-based sampling of metabolomes have limited our understanding of the intricate regulation of metabolic pathways and networks at the cellular level. Recent advances in metabolomics methodologies, along with the post-genomic expansion of bioinformatics knowledge and functional genomics tools, have allowed the gathering of enriched information on individual cells and single cell types. Here we review progress, current status, opportunities, and challenges presented by single cell-based metabolomics research in plants.
    Trends in Plant Science 06/2014; 19(10). DOI:10.1016/j.tplants.2014.05.005 · 13.48 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 19, 2014