NMR spectra of mixtures of metabolites extracted from cells or tissues are extremely complex, reflecting the large number of compounds that are present over a wide range of concentrations. Although multidimensional NMR can greatly improve resolution as well as improve reliability of compound assignments, lower abundance metabolites often remain hidden. We have developed a carbonyl-selective aminooxy probe that specifically reacts with free keto and aldehyde functions, but not carboxylates. By incorporating 15N in the aminooxy functional group, 15N-edited NMR was used to select exclusively those metabolites that contain a free carbonyl function while all other metabolites are rejected. Here, we demonstrate that the chemical shifts of the aminooxy adducts of ketones and aldehydes are very different, which can be used to discriminate between aldoses and ketoses, for example. Utilizing the 2-bond or 3-bond 15N-1H couplings, the 15N-edited NMR analysis was optimized first with authentic standards and then applied to an extract of the lung adenocarcinoma cell line A549. More than 30 carbonyl-containing compounds at NMR-detectable levels, six of which we have assigned by reference to our database.

As the aminooxy probe contains a permanently charged quaternary ammonium group, the adducts are also optimized for detection by mass spectrometry. Thus, this sample preparation technique provides a better link between the two structural determination tools, thereby paving the way to faster and more reliable identification of both known and unknown metabolites directly in crude biological extracts.

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Published in Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, v. 53, no. 5, p. 337-343.

Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lane, A. N., Arumugam, S., Lorkiewicz, P. K., Higashi, R. M., Laulhé, S., Nantz, M. H., Moseley, H. N. B., and Fan, T. W.-M. (2015), Chemoselective detection and discrimination of carbonyl-containing compounds in metabolite mixtures by 1H-detected 15N nuclear magnetic resonance. Magn. Reson. Chem., 53, 337–343, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mrc.4199. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Drs. Lane, Higashi, Moseley, and Fan were affiliated with the University of Kentucky at the time of publication.

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This work was supported in part by grants NIEHS R01ES022191-01 (TWMF, MHN, RMH), NIH 1 U24 DK097215-01A1 (RMH, TWMF, ANL), P01CA163223-01A1 (ANL, TWMF) and the Kentucky Challenge for Excellence (ANL).

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