High-throughput quantification of bioactive lipids by MALDI mass spectrometry: application to prostaglandins.
Analysis and quantification of analytes in biological systems is a critical component of metabolomic investigations of cell function. The most widely used methods employ chromatographic separation followed by mass spectrometric analysis, which requires significant time for sample preparation and sequential chromatography. We introduce a novel high-throughput, separation-free methodology based on MALDI mass spectrometry that allows for the parallel analysis of targeted metabolomes. Proof-of-concept is demonstrated by analysis of prostaglandins and glyceryl prostaglandins. Derivatization to incorporate a charged moiety into ketone-containing prostaglandins dramatically increases the signal-to-noise ratio relative to underivatized samples. This resulted in an increased dynamic range (15-2000 fmol on plate) and improved linearity (r(2) = 0.99). The method was adapted for high-throughput screening methods for enzymology and drug discovery. Application to cellular metabolomics was also demonstrated.