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Native Electrospray-based Metabolomics Enables the Detection of Metal-binding Compounds

By Allegra Aron, Daniel Petras, Robin Schmid, Julia M. Gauglitz, Isabell B├╝ttel, Luis Antelo, Hui Zhi, Christina C. Saak, Kien P Malarney, Eckhard Thines, Rachel Dutton, Manuela Raffatellu, Pieter C. Dorrestein

Posted 30 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/824888

Metals are essential for the molecular machineries of life, and microbes have evolved a variety of small molecules to acquire, compete for, and utilize metals. Systematic methods for the discovery of metal-small molecule complexes from biological samples are limited. Here we describe a two-step native electrospray ionization mass spectrometry method, in which double-barrel post-column metal-infusion and pH adjustment is combined with ion identity molecular networking, a rule-based informatics workflow. This method can be used to identify metal-binding compounds in complex samples based on defined mass (m/z) offsets of ion features with the same chromatographic profiles. As this native metal metabolomics approach can be easily implemented on any liquid chromatography-based mass spectrometry system, this method has the potential to become a key strategy for elucidating and understanding the role of metal-binding molecules in biology.

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