Single-Cell Lipidomics: Characterizing and Imaging Lipids on the Surface of Individual Aplysia californica Neurons with Cluster Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
Journal article, 2013

Neurons isolated from Aplysia californica, an organism with a well-defined neural network, were imaged with secondary ion mass spectrometry, C-60-SIMS. A major lipid component of the neuronal membrane was identified as 1-hexadecyl-2-octadecenoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [PC(16:0e/18:1)] using tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). The assignment was made directly off the sample surface using a C-60-QSTAR instrument, a prototype instrument that combines an ion source with a commercial electrospray ionization/matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (ESI/MALDI) mass spectrometer, Normal phase liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (NP-LC-MS) was used to confirm the assignment. Cholesterol and vitamin E were also identified with in situ tandem MS analyses that were compared to reference spectra obtained from purified compounds. In order to improve sensitivity on the single-cell level, the tandem MS spectrum of vitamin E reference material was used to extract and compile all the vitamin E related peaks from the cell image. The mass spectrometry images heterogeneous distributions cif intact lipid species, PC(16:0e/18:1), vitamin E, and cholesterol on the surface of a single neuron. The ability to detect these molecules and determine their relative distribution on the single-cell level shows that the C-60-QSTAR is a potential platform for studying important biochemical processes, such as neuron degeneration.


Melissa Passarelli

University of Gothenburg

Andrew Ewing

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Analytical Chemistry

N. Winograd

Pennsylvania State University

Analytical Chemistry

0003-2700 (ISSN) 1520-6882 (eISSN)

Vol. 85 4 2231-2238

Subject Categories

Chemical Sciences



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4/6/2018 1