Metabolomic profiling involves relative quantification of metabolites in comparative samples and identification of the significant metabolites that differentiate different groups (e.g., diseased vs. controls). Chemical isotope labeling (CIL) liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) is an enabling technique that can provide improved metabolome coverage and metabolite quantification. However, chemical identification of labeled metabolites can still be a challenge. In this work, a new set of isotopic labeling reagents offering versatile properties to enhance both detection and identification are described. They were prepared by a glycine molecule (or its isotopic counterpart) and an aromatic acid with varying structures through a simple three-step synthesis route. In addition to relatively low costs of synthesizing the reagents, this reaction route allows adjusting reagent property in accordance with the desired application objective. To date, two isotopic reagents, 4-dimethylaminobenzoylamido acetic acid N-hydroxylsuccinimide ester (DBAA-NHS) and 4-methoxybenzoylamido acetic acid N-hydroxylsuccinimide ester (MBAA-NHS), for labeling the amine-containing metabolites (i.e., amine submetabolome) have been synthesized. The labeling conditions and the related LC-MS method have been optimized. We demonstrate that DBAA labeling can increase the metabolite detectability because of the presence of an electrospray ionization (ESI)-active dimethylaminobenzoyl group. On the other hand, MBAA labeled metabolites can be fragmented in MS/MS and pseudo MS(3) experiments to provide structural information on metabolites of interest. Thus, these reagents can be tailored to quantitative profiling of the amine submetabolome as well as metabolite identification in metabolomics applications.
Keywords: Amine-containing metabolites; Isotope labeling; Liquid chromatography; Mass spectrometry; Metabolomics.
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