Chapter twelve


Toward Total Cellular Lipidome Analysis by ESI Mass

Spectrometry from a Crude Lipid Extract


Xianlin Hana,b and Richard W. Grossa,b,c,d


aDivision of Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Departments of bMedicine,

cMolecular Biology and Pharmacology, and dChemistry, Washington University School of

Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110




Cellular lipids are important cellular molecules that have multiple distinct yet critical roles in cellular function. They form self-organizing chemical assemblies (i.e., cellular membranes) that provide an impermeable boundary layer to separate intracellular and extracellular compartments and to sequester proteins, metabolites, and nucleotides, without which life and self-renewal would be impossible. Moreover, lipids concurrently provide a matrix for the approximate interactions of membrane- associated proteins to interact with each other, as well as promote interactions of membrane proteins with their cognate intra- and extracellular binding partners. Finally, lipids act as both an energy reservoir (triacylglycerols [TAG]) and a storage depot for biologically active second messengers (eicosanoids, diacylglycerols, ceramides, etc.) that allow each cell to effectively respond to internal and external stimuli.

The inherent chemical diversity present in biological lipids is achieved through multiple discrete covalent assemblies of lipid backbones (glycerol for glycerolipids and sphingosine for sphingolipids) with linear combinations of various aliphatic chains (typically 1422 carbons long and containing varying amounts of unsaturation), with or without polar head groups. This biological diversity facilitates the specific tailoring of individual cellular responses to alterations in cellular nutrient status, metabolic history, and signaling events. Accordingly, many groups have rigorously pursued the identification of alterations in cellular lipid constituents to identify the chemical mechanisms underlying such diverse diseases as obesity, atherosclerosis, stroke, and diabetes, all now epidemic in industrialized populations.

The precise complement of chemically distinct covalent entities in lipids of a cell or organ has been referred to as the lipidome. Lipidomics is a research field comprising the study of lipidome-lipidome, lipidome-proteome, and lipidome-genome interactions.

Modern Methods for Lipid AnalysiS by Liquid Chromatography/ mass spectrometry and Related Techniques

Resources for Lipid Analysis in the 21st Century

Contact the author:


Dr. Xianlin Han and Dr. Richard W. Gross

Washington University School of Medicine

Campus Box 8020

St. Louis, MO 63110



Web address:

This was a sample page from the book to give you an idea of what is discussed.

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