Recent advances in the analysis of the site-specific isotopic fractionation of metabolites such as fatty acids using anisotropic natural-abundance 2H NMR spectroscopy: application to conjugated linolenic methyl esters.
ABSTRACT The full elucidation of the enzymatic mechanisms leading to polyunsaturated ω-3 to ω-5 fatty acids (PUFAs) occurring in plants or microorganisms by analyzing their site-specific isotopic fractionation profiles is a challenging task. Isotropic SNIF-NMR® method is an historical, powerful tool for the determination of ((2)H/(1)H) ratios. However, the absence of accessible isotopic data on the enantiotopic hydrogen sites (CH(2) groups) prevents the study of the enzymatic reaction stereoselectivity. Natural-abundance deuterium (NAD) 2D NMR experiment using chiral liquid crystals (CLC) as solvent is a new tool in this field, overcoming this limitation. In this work, we have explored various possibilities for optimizing the enantio-discrimination properties of CLC by changing the nature of the polypeptide and/or increasing the polarity of the organic co-solvents. We report also the first applications of TMU as co-solvent for preparing enantio-discriminating, homogenous polypeptide mesophases. The various experimental NAD NMR results recorded at an optimal sample temperature are discussed and compared in terms of number of discriminated (2)H sites and magnitude of spectral separation for different PUFAs such as the linoleic and linolenic acids. The comparison of all NMR results shows that optimal results are obtained when CLC mixtures made of poly-γ-benzyl-L-glutamate (PBLG) and high polarity co-solvents are used. As new challenging examples of applications, we report the preliminary analytical results obtained from two ω-5 conjugated linolenic acids: the α-eleostearic acid (9Z, 11E, 13E) and the punicic acid (9Z, 11E, 13Z). NMR data are discussed in terms of molecular orientational ordering parameters and isotopic distribution.