Metabolomics is the study of all the small molecule metabolites that are produced by cellular processes. Within the -omics cascade that starts with genomics, metabolomics is the one which is closest to phenotype. Changes in the metabolome therefore are more closely related to phenotypic alteration than are changes in the genome, transcriptome, or proteome. Metabolite analysis, therefore, can lead to new biomarkers and diagnostics.
Unlike other -omics, the metabolome consists of molecules from various molecular classes, such as peptides, amino acids, carbohydrates, and nucleosides. This makes general methods nearly impossible. Compounding the difficulty, metabolite abundances can vary over orders of magnitude within a sample and the most interesting analytes are often present in low levels.
Mass spectrometry (MS) has emerged as the analytical method of choice in metabolomics. MS provides the required high sensitivity along with structural information needed to detect and quantify changes in low levels of specific metabolites. The sensitivity can be increased by better resolution of metabolites prior to analysis, typically done by coupling GC or LC to the MS.
Sample preparation prior to LC-MS can also improve resolution by reducing sample complexity, an area where fluorous techniques excel. Fluorous tags and separation techniques offer you proven methods to target your desired molecule, regardless of class or functionality, and easily and selectively enrich it from the mixture. Furthermore, fluorous tags are non-fragmentary and non-suppressive, making them well suited for standard mass spectrometry methods.
The first report of fluorous derivatization and enrichment in metabolomics was from Prof. Gary Siuzdak and co-workers at the Scripps Research Institute in 2007. Since that time other researchers have reported using fluorous separation methods in their metabolomics applications. We highlighted several examples in our October 2010 Technical Newsletter dedicated to fluorous metabolomics. You can also keep up with the latest fluorous metabolomics literature at our blog.
Fluorous Technologies Inc. can provide you with all the necessary reagents and FluoroFlash® silica gel used for metabolite tagging and enrichment. FluoroFlash® silica gel is available in convenient pipette form, in pre-packed micro LC format, or in loose bulk format for those who prefer to pack their own separation media. We can also pack custom formats to meet your sorbent needs. Please view our product offering, listed under Related Products to the left.