Automated data-driven mass spectrometry for improved analysis of lipids with dual dissociation techniques

Seul Kee Byeon, Anil K. Madugundu, Akhilesh Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lipidomics is an important component of most multi-Omics systems biology studies and is largely driven by mass spectrometry (MS). Because lipids are tight regulators of multiple cellular functions, including energy homeostasis, membrane structures and cell signaling, lipidomics can provide a deeper understanding of variations underlying disease states and can become an even more powerful platform when combined with other omics, including genomics or proteomics. However, data analysis, especially in lipid annotation, poses challenges due to the heterogeneity of functional head groups and fatty acyl chains of varying hydrocarbon lengths and degrees of unsaturation. As there are various MS/MS fragmentation sites in lipids that are class-dependent, obtaining MS/MS data that includes as many fragment ions as possible is critical for structural characterization of lipids in lipidomics workflow. Here, we report an improved lipidomics methodology that resulted in increased coverage of lipidome using: 1) An automated data-driven MS/MS acquisition scheme in which inclusion and exclusion lists were automatically generated from the full scan MS of sample injections, followed by creation of updated lists over iterative analyses; and, 2) Incorporation of dual dissociation techniques of higher-energy collision dissociation and collision-induced dissociation for more accurate characterization of phosphatidylcholine species. Inclusion lists were created automatically based on full scan MS signals from samples and through iterative analyses, ions in the inclusion list that were fragmented were automatically moved to the exclusion list in subsequent runs. We confirmed that analytes with low MS response that did not undergo MS/MS events in conventional data-dependent analysis were successfully fragmented using this approach. Overall, this automated data-driven data acquisition approach resulted in a higher coverage of lipidome and the use of dual dissociation techniques provided additional information that was critical in characterizing the side chains of phosphatidylcholine species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Mass Spectrometry and Advances in the Clinical Lab
StatePublished - Nov 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Spectroscopy
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Microbiology


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