A new metabolome analysis approach for nitrogen (N)-containing metabolites

March 6, 2017

Expecting effectiveness for isolating and structurally determining metabolites and identifying gene function

Many N-containing metabolites such as alkaloids that are useful for human are used as materials for pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals. However, since their chemical structure is diverse and complex, it has been difficult to analyze them in groups.

 In order to address this challenge, RIKEN CSRS has developed N-omics, a top-down metabolome analysis for nitrogen-containing metabolites. N-Omics uses three platforms: ultrahigh-resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), high-resolution matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS), and high-resolution imaging mass spectrometry (IMS).

 When researchers performed N-omics to analyze N-containing metabolites in the medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus, the LC-MS analysis revealed 65 metabolites, including known metabolites such as ajmalicine, perivine and vindoline, while the MALDI-MS identified 64 metabolites. the IMS was used to confirm the spatial accumulation patterns of 32 metabolites. Database searches through elemental compositions identified in this study showed that these analyses captured unknown metabolites even in Catharanthus, which has been well studied ever.

 In general, there is a correlation between metabolite accumulation and gene expression in the biosynthetsis of specialized metabolites. The N-omics methods should be effective for identification of biosynthetic genes in N-containing metabolites.

Original article
Analytical Chemistry doi:10.1021/acs.analchem.6b04163
R. Nakabayashi, K. Hashimoto, K. Toyooka, K. Saito,
"Top-down metabolomic approaches for nitrogen-containing metabolites".
Ryo Nakabayashi; Research Scientist
Kazuki Saito; Group Director
Metabolomics Research Group