Lipidomics is the study of the structure and function of the complete set of lipids (the lipidome) produced in a cell, organism, or biological material and their interactions with other biomolecules. At EMSL, our lipidomics platform specializes in complex lipids such as phospholipids, glycerolipids, and sphingolipids. Specifically, we analyze lipid extracts using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), which enables us to identify the type of lipids present and their associated acyl chains. Currently, our database contains over 45,000 lipids and is customizable to meet users’ needs.
- Supporting the Cell Signaling and Communications Integrated Research Platform, these resources reveal how cells respond to community interactions and cellular needs through altering the lipidome and creating signaling molecules.
- Supporting the Rhizosphere Function Integrated Research Platform, these resources characterize cellular lipids and reveal how cells and organisms respond to changing environments.
- Supporting the Biomolecular Pathways Integrated Research Platform, these resources assist in understanding the molecular mechanisms behind biological processes related to lipid metabolism and homeostasis.
- Velos Orbitrap
- Ion mobility quadrupole-time-of-flight with dedicated preprocessing software actively developed and maintained at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Tips for success
- Make sure your study is designed to answer your scientific questions. This includes appropriate controls, biological replicates, and statistical power.
- As lipids are sensitive to degradation, biological samples should be flash frozen immediately after sampling and stored at -80°C.
- Avoid plastic, especially those that may leave a residue on the samples. Lipids are extracted from biological samples using organic solvents (e.g., methanol and chloroform), which also dissolve most types of plastics. Plasticizers are common contaminants, and their presence could limit or decrease the number of lipids that can be identified. This can result in an incomplete and inaccurate profile of the lipidome. This is a common problem for samples that have a low amount of total lipids (please see below tip on small samples amounts).
- Glass vials can also leave a reside. Pre-wash glassware with methanol and/or chloroform to minimize contamination.
- For samples that are limited in size, ship your samples in containers that can also be used for extracting the lipids. This will minimize the number of times samples are transferred and, therefore, sample loss.