Differential-mobility spectrometry of 1-deoxysphingosine isomers: New insights into the gas phase structures of ionized lipids

Berwyck L. J. Poad, Alan T. MacCarone, Haibo Yu, Todd W. Mitchell, Essa M. Saied, Christoph Arenz, Thorsten Hornemann, James N. Bull, Evan J. Bieske, Stephen J. Blanksby

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Separation and structural identification of lipids remain a major challenge for contemporary lipidomics. Regioisomeric lipids differing only in position(s) of unsaturation are often not differentiated by conventional liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry approaches leading to the incomplete, or sometimes incorrect, assignation of molecular structure. Here we describe an investigation of the gas phase separations by differential-mobility spectrometry (DMS) of a series of synthetic analogues of the recently described 1-deoxysphingosine. The dependence of the DMS behavior on the position of the carbon-carbon double bond within the ionized lipid is systematically explored and compared to trends from complementary investigations, including collision cross-sections measured by drift tube ion mobility, reaction efficiency with ozone, and molecular dynamics simulations. Consistent trends across these modes of interrogation point to the importance of direct, through-space interactions between the charge site and the carbon-carbon double bond. Differences in the geometry and energetics of this intramolecular interaction underpin DMS separations and influence reactivity trends between regioisomers. Importantly, the disruption and reformation of these intramolecular solvation interactions during DMS are proposed to be the causative factor in the observed separations of ionized lipids which are shown to have otherwise identical collision cross-sections. These findings provide key insights into the strengths and limitations of current ion-mobility technologies for lipid isomer separations and can thus guide a more systematic approach to improved analytical separations in lipidomics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5343-5351
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number8
Early online date2 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2018

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