Unexpected similarities between the Schizosaccharomyces and human blood metabolomes, and novel human metabolites

Mol Biosyst. 2014 Oct;10(10):2538-51. doi: 10.1039/c4mb00346b.


Metabolomics, a modern branch of chemical biology, provides qualitative and quantitative information about the metabolic states of organisms or cells at the molecular level. Here we report non-targeted, metabolomic analyses of human blood, using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). We compared the blood metabolome to the previously reported metabolome of the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The two metabolomic datasets were highly similar: 101 of 133 compounds identified in human blood (75%) were also present in S. pombe, and 45 of 57 compounds enriched in red blood cells (RBCs) (78%) were also present in yeast. The most abundant metabolites were ATP, glutathione, and glutamine. Apart from these three, the next most abundant metabolites were also involved in energy metabolism, anti-oxidation, and amino acid metabolism. We identified fourteen new blood compounds, eight of which were enriched in RBCs: citramalate, GDP-glucose, trimethyl-histidine, trimethyl-phenylalanine, trimethyl-tryptophan, trimethyl-tyrosine, UDP-acetyl-glucosamine, UDP-glucuronate, dimethyl-lysine, glutamate methyl ester, N-acetyl-(iso)leucine, N-acetyl-glutamate, N2-acetyl-lysine, and N6-acetyl-lysine. Ten of the newly identified blood metabolites were also detected in S. pombe, and ten of the 14 newly identified blood metabolites were methylated or acetylated amino acids. Trimethylated or acetylated free amino acids were also abundant in white blood cells. It may be possible to investigate their physiological roles using yeast genetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Datasets as Topic
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics* / methods
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants