Untargeted Metabolomics Strategies-Challenges and Emerging Directions

Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Alexandra C Schrimpe-RutledgeJohn A McLean

Abstract

Metabolites are building blocks of cellular function. These species are involved in enzyme-catalyzed chemical reactions and are essential for cellular function. Upstream biological disruptions result in a series of metabolomic changes and, as such, the metabolome holds a wealth of information that is thought to be most predictive of phenotype. Uncovering this knowledge is a work in progress. The field of metabolomics is still maturing; the community has leveraged proteomics experience when applicable and developed a range of sample preparation and instrument methodology along with myriad data processing and analysis approaches. Research focuses have now shifted toward a fundamental understanding of the biology responsible for metabolomic changes. There are several types of metabolomics experiments including both targeted and untargeted analyses. While untargeted, hypothesis generating workflows exhibit many valuable attributes, challenges inherent to the approach remain. This Critical Insight comments on these challenges, focusing on the identification process of LC-MS-based untargeted metabolomics studies-specifically in mammalian systems. Biological interpretation of metabolomics data hinges on the ability to accurately ident...Continue Reading

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