Stable isotope labeling by essential nutrients in cell culture for preparation of labeled coenzyme A and its thioesters

Anal Chem. 2011 Feb 15;83(4):1363-9. doi: 10.1021/ac1027353. Epub 2011 Jan 26.


Stable isotope dilution mass spectrometry (MS) represents the gold standard for quantification of endogenously formed cellular metabolites. Although coenzyme A (CoA) and acyl-CoA thioester derivatives are central players in numerous metabolic pathways, the lack of a commercially available isotopically labeled CoA limits the development of rigorous MS-based methods. In this study, we adapted stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) methodology to biosynthetically generate stable isotope labeled CoA and thioester analogues for use as internal standards in liquid chromatography/multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (LC/MRM-MS) assays. This was accomplished by incubating murine hepatocytes (Hepa 1c1c7) in media in which pantothenate (a precursor of CoA) was replaced with [(13)C(3)(15)N(1)]-pantothenate. Efficient incorporation into various CoA species was optimized to >99% [(13)C(3)(15)N(1)]-pantothenate after three passages of the murine cells in culture. Charcoal-dextran-stripped fetal bovine serum (FBS) was found to be more efficient for serum supplementation than dialyzed or undialyzed FBS, due to lower contaminating unlabeled pantothenate content. Stable isotope labeled CoA species were extracted and utilized as internal standards for CoA thioester analysis in cell culture models. This methodology of stable isotope labeling by essential nutrients in cell culture (SILEC) can serve as a paradigm for using vitamins and other essential nutrients to generate stable isotope standards that cannot be readily synthesized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Coenzyme A / biosynthesis
  • Coenzyme A / chemistry*
  • Coenzyme A / isolation & purification
  • Esters
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Isotope Labeling / methods*
  • Mice
  • Pantothenic Acid / chemistry*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization


  • Esters
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Coenzyme A