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Anal Chem. 2007 Oct 1;79(19):7554-9. Epub 2007 Sep 7.

Accurate assessment of amino acid mass isotopomer distributions for metabolic flux analysis.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Bioinformatics and Metabolic Engineering Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Metabolic flux analysis based on stable-isotope labeling experiments and analysis of mass isotopomer distributions (MID) of cellular metabolites is a tool of great significance for metabolic engineering and study of human disease. This method relies on accurate and precise measurements of mass isotopomers by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. To improve flux estimates, we assessed potential errors in determining MID of tert-butyldimethylsilyl-derivatized amino acids, which were attributed to (i) the choice of integration algorithm, (ii) concentration effects, and (iii) overlapping fragments. We report 29 amino acid fragments that are useful for flux analysis and another 18 fragments that should be rejected, most importantly Val-302, Leu-200, Leu-302, Ile-302, Ser-302, and Asp-316. In addition, we provide a protocol to minimize errors for determining MID to less than 0.4 mol % for accepted fragments.

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