Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Genome Biology and BioMed Central.

Research news

Metabolite profiling

William Wells

Genome Biology 2000, 1:spotlight-20001108-03  doi:10.1186/gb-spotlight-20001108-03

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:


Published:8 November 2000

© 2000 BioMed Central Ltd

Research news

In the November Nature Biotechnology Fiehn et al. offer an alternative to the profiling of messenger RNA and protein levels. They use gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to assay the relative levels of 326 small compounds from a plant leaf extract (Nat Biotech 2000, 18:1157-1161). A simple methanol extraction is followed by derivitization to increase metabolite stability and volatility. Approximately half of the chromatographed compounds can be identified based on retention times and mass spectra; these results can be viewed on the accompanying website. Biological variability (of approximately 40%) is in clear excess of variability inherent to the method (about 8%). Principal component analysis allows metabolite profiles from plants of a particular genetic background or with a particular mutation to be clustered. Mutation of a single gene causes many changes, most of them unexplained. Metabolite profiles may be useful to address public concerns about the safety of genetically modified food.

References

  1. [http://www.nature.com/nbt/] webcite

    Nature Biotechnology

  2. Metabolic profiling: a Rosetta Stone for genomics?

    PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  3. [http://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/mms-library/index-e.html] webcite

    Metabolite Mass Spectra Library