Mapping Lipid Fragmentation for Tailored Mass Spectral Libraries

J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2019 Apr;30(4):659-668. doi: 10.1007/s13361-018-02125-y. Epub 2019 Feb 12.


Libraries of simulated lipid fragmentation spectra enable the identification of hundreds of unique lipids from complex lipid extracts, even when the corresponding lipid reference standards do not exist. Often, these in silico libraries are generated through expert annotation of spectra to extract and model fragmentation rules common to a given lipid class. Although useful for a given sample source or instrumental platform, the time-consuming nature of this approach renders it impractical for the growing array of dissociation techniques and instrument platforms. Here, we introduce Library Forge, a unique algorithm capable of deriving lipid fragment mass-to-charge (m/z) and intensity patterns directly from high-resolution experimental spectra with minimal user input. Library Forge exploits the modular construction of lipids to generate m/z transformed spectra in silico which reveal the underlying fragmentation pathways common to a given lipid class. By learning these fragmentation patterns directly from observed spectra, the algorithm increases lipid spectral matching confidence while reducing spectral library development time from days to minutes. We embed the algorithm within the preexisting lipid analysis architecture of LipiDex to integrate automated and robust library generation within a comprehensive LC-MS/MS lipidomics workflow. Graphical Abstract.

Keywords: In silico fragmentation modeling; Lipid identifications; Lipidomics; Mass spectrometry; Spectral libraries.