Profiling and quantification of Drosophila melanogaster lipids using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry

Loubna A. Hammad, Brandon S. Cooper, Nicholas P. Fisher, Kristi L. Montooth, Jonathan A. Karty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We present here the findings of global profiling of Drosophila lipids using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) on an LTQ-Orbitrap instrument. In addition, we present a multiple reaction monitoring (LC-MRM) method for the absolute quantification of the major phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) lipids of Drosophila. Using both normal-and reversed-phase LC followed by accurate mass analysis and MS/MS on an LTQ-Orbitrap instrument, we evaluated the lipid composition of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. A total of 74 lipid species were identified consisting of glycerphospholipids belonging to the PE, PC, phosphatidylglycerol (PG), phosphatidylinositol (PI) and phosphatidylserine (PS) classes including several plasmanyl PE species, as well as triacylglycerides, cardiolipins, ceramides, and PE ceramides. Individual PE and PC phospholipids were then quantified using an LC-MRM approach. Reversed-phase chromatography followed by monitoring on a QTrap 4000 instrument of 21 MRM transitions combined with calibration curves constructed using internal standards enabled the absolute quantification of 28 PE and PC lipid species with limits of quantification of 3 and 5 pg/mL, respectively. Internal standards accounted for the differences in ionization efficiencies of PE and PC phospholipids, facilitating more accurate lipid abundance measurements. The method presented here builds on previous Drosophila work by making the quantification of absolute lipid abundance possible and will be of interest to scientists who study variation and changes in the degree of unsaturation, fatty acid carbon length, and head-group concentration among individuals of different genotypes in response to environmental, genetic, or physiological perturbation in small insects. It will also be particularly useful to biologists interested in adaptation and acclimation of cellular membranes in response to thermal heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2959-2968
Number of pages10
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 15 2011


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