Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry

Detailed Structural Characterization of Sphingolipids via 193 nm Ultraviolet Photodissociation and Ultra High Resolution Tandem Mass Spectrometry.

PMID 28455688


Sphingolipids serve not only as components of cellular membranes but also as bioactive mediators of numerous cellular functions. As the biological activities of these lipids are dependent on their structures, and due to the limitations of conventional ion activation methods employed during tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), there is a recognized need for the development of improved structure-specific methods for their comprehensive identification and characterization. Here, positive-ionization mode 193 nm ultraviolet photodissociation (UVPD)-MS/MS has been implemented for the detailed structural characterization of lipid species from a range of sphingolipid classes introduced to the mass spectrometer via electrospray ionization as their lithiated or protonated adducts. These include sphingosine d18:1(4E), dihydrosphingosine (sphinganine) d18:0, sphingadiene d18:2(4E,11Z), the isomeric sphingolipids ceramide d18:1(4E)/18:0 and dihydroceramide d18:0/18:1(9Z), ceramide-1-phosphate d18:1(4Z)/16:0, sphingomyelin d18:1(4E)/18:1(9Z) the glycosphingolipids galactosyl ceramide d18:1(4E)/24:1(15Z) and lactosyl ceramide d18:1(4E)/24:0, and several endogenous lipids present within a porcine brain total lipid extract. In addition to the product ions formed by higher energy collision dissociation (HCD), UVPD is shown to yield a series of novel structurally diagnostic product ions resulting from cleavage of both sphingosine carbon-carbon and acyl chain carbon-carbon double bonds for direct localization of site(s) of unsaturation, as well as via diagnostic cleavages of the sphingosine backbone and N-C amide bond linkages. With activation timescales and dissociation efficiencies similar to those found in conventional MS/MS strategies, this approach is therefore a promising new tool in the arsenal of ion activation techniques toward providing complete structural elucidation in automated, high-throughput lipid analysis workflows. Graphical Abstract ᅟ.

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Lithium acetate, 99.95% trace metals basis