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Phytochemistry. 2007 Aug-Sep;68(16-18):2258-72. Epub 2007 May 1.

GC-EI-TOF-MS analysis of in vivo carbon-partitioning into soluble metabolite pools of higher plants by monitoring isotope dilution after 13CO2 labelling.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Muehlenberg 1, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany.


The established GC-EI-TOF-MS method for the profiling of soluble polar metabolites from plant tissue was employed for the kinetic metabolic phenotyping of higher plants. Approximately 100 typical GC-EI-MS mass fragments of trimethylsilylated and methoxyaminated metabolite derivatives were structurally interpreted for mass isotopomer analysis, thus enabling the kinetic study of identified metabolites as well as the so-called functional group monitoring of yet non-identified metabolites. The monitoring of isotope dilution after (13)CO(2) labelling was optimized using Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0 or Oryza sativa IR57111 plants, which were maximally labelled with (13)C. Carbon isotope dilution was evaluated for short (2h) and long-term (3 days) kinetic measurements of metabolite pools in root and shoots. Both approaches were shown to enable the characterization of metabolite specific partitioning processes and kinetics. Simplifying data reduction schemes comprising calculation of (13)C-enrichment from mass isotopomer distributions and of initial (13)C-dilution rates were employed. Metabolites exhibited a highly diverse range of metabolite and organ specific half-life of (13)C-label in their respective pools ((13)C-half-life). This observation implied the setting of metabolite specific periods for optimal kinetic monitoring. A current experimental design for the kinetic metabolic phenotyping of higher plants is proposed.

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