Correlations Between LC-MS/MS-Detected Glycomics and NMR-Detected Metabolomics in Caenorhabditis elegans Development

Front Mol Biosci. 2019 Jun 28:6:49. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2019.00049. eCollection 2019.


This study examined the relationship between glycans, metabolites, and development in C. elegans. Samples of N2 animals were synchronized and grown to five different time points ranging from L1 to a mixed population of adults, gravid adults, and offspring. Each time point was replicated seven times. The samples were each assayed by a large particle flow cytometer (Biosorter) for size distribution data, LC-MS/MS for targeted N- and O-linked glycans, and NMR for metabolites. The same samples were utilized for all measurements, which allowed for statistical correlations between the data. A new protocol was developed to correlate Biosorter developmental data with LC-MS/MS data to obtain stage-specific information of glycans. From the five time points, four distinct sizes of worms were observed from the Biosorter distributions, ranging from the smallest corresponding to L1 to adult animals. A network model was constructed using the four binned sizes of worms as starting nodes and adding glycans and metabolites that had correlations with r ≥ 0.5 to those nodes. The emerging structure of the network showed distinct patterns of N- and O-linked glycans that were consistent with previous studies. Furthermore, some metabolites that were correlated to these glycans and worm sizes showed interesting interactions. Of note, UDP-GlcNAc had strong positive correlations with many O-glycans that were expressed in the largest animals. Similarly, phosphorylcholine correlated with many N-glycans that were expressed in L1 animals.

Keywords: C. elegans; NMR; biosorter; development; glycomics; mass spectrometry; metabolomics.