In the present research, we have established a new lipidomics approach for the comprehensive and precise identification of molecular species in a crude lipid mixture using a LTQ Orbitrap mass spectrometer (MS) and reverse-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC) combination with our newly developed lipid search engine "Lipid Search". LTQ Orbitrap provides high mass accuracy MS spectra by Fourier-transform (FT) mass spectrometer mode and can perform rapid MS(n) by ion trap (IT) mass spectrometer mode. In this study, the negative ion mode was selected to detect fragment ions from phospholipids, such as fatty acid anions, by MS2 or MS3. We selected the specific detection approach by neutral loss survey-dependent MS3, for the identification of molecular species of phosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin and phosphatidylserine. Identification of molecular species was performed by using both the high mass accuracy of the mass spectrometric data obtained from FT mode and structural data obtained from fragments in IT mode. Some alkylacyl and alkenylacyl species have the same m/z value as molecular-related ions and fragment ions, thus, direct acid hydrolysis analysis was performed to identify alkylacyl and alkenylacyl species, and then the RPLC-LTQ Orbitrap method was applied. As a result, 290 species from mouse liver and 248 species from mouse brain were identified within six different classes of phospholipid, only those in manually detected and confirmed. Most of all manually detected mass peaks were also automatically detected by "Lipid Search". Adding to differences in molecular species in different classes of phospholipids, many characteristic differences in molecular species were detected in mouse liver and brain. More variable number of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid-containing molecular species were detected in mouse brain than liver.
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