High mass accuracy and resolution facilitate identification of glycosphingolipids and phospholipids

Huan He, Mark R. Emmett, Carol L. Nilsson, Charles A. Conrad, Alan G. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Natural lipid profiling can improve our current understanding of disease mechanism in a systems biology approach combining genomics, proteomics, and phenotypic changes. However, lipid profiling is complicated by the >10,000 combinations of polar head group, hydrocarbon chain length and degree of unsaturation/hydroxylation, and glycan composition and branching pattern. Here, we show how LC separation coupled with high resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass analysis can quickly narrow down the possible phospholipid and glycosphingolipid compositions. That approach necessitates resolution of mass differences as small as 1.8 mDa [12C 213C1N1 (51.0064 Da) vs. H 3O3 (51.0082 Da)] in phospholipids and 1.6 mDa [ 13C2S1H2 (59.9944 Da) vs. N 2O2 (59.9960 Da)] in glycosphingolipids. For novel/unknown lipid species, high mass accuracy based Kendrick mass defect analysis enables quick grouping of related lipid species for subsequent tandem MS structural characterization. For sulfur-containing lipid species, high mass resolution can reveal isotopic fine structure to verify assignment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-119
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Aug 15 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • 3-O-Sulfoglucuronylparagloboside (SGPG)
  • Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance
  • Isotopic fine structure
  • Kendrick mass
  • Lipidomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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