Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)-based metabolomics has been facilitated by the construction of MS(2) spectral tag (MS2T) library from the total scan ESI MS/MS data, and the development of widely targeted metabolomics method using MS/MS data gathered from authentic standards. In this report, a novel strategy called stepwise multiple ion monitoring-enhanced product ions (stepwise MIM-EPI) was developed to construct the MS2T library, in which stepwise MIM was used as survey scans to trigger the acquisition of EPI. A total number of 698 (almost) non-redundant metabolites with MS(2) spectra were obtained, of which 135 metabolites were identified/annotated. Integrating the data gathered from our MS2T library and other available multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) information, a widely targeted metabolomics method was developed to quantify 277 metabolites, including some phytohormones. Evaluation of the dehydration responses and natural variations of these metabolites in rice leaf not only suggested the coordinated regulation of abscisic acid (ABA) with metabolites such as serotonin derivative(s), polyamine conjugates under drought stress, but also revealed some C-glycosylated flavones as the potential markers for the discrimination of indica and japonica rice subspecies. The new MS2T library construction and widely targeted metabolomics strategy could be used as a tool for rice functional genomics.
Keywords: MS2T library; flavonoid; rice.; widely targeted metabolic profiling.