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Talanta. 2009 Nov 15;80(1):390-9. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2009.06.027. Epub 2009 Jun 17.

Profiling ABA metabolites in Nicotiana tabacum L. leaves by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry.

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Laboratory of Growth Regulators, Palacký University & Institute of Experimental Botany ASCR, CZ-783 71 Olomouc, Czech Republic.


We have developed a simple method for extracting and purifying (+)-abscisic acid (ABA) and eight ABA metabolites--phaseic acid (PA), dihydrophaseic acid (DPA), neophaseic acid (neoPA), ABA-glucose ester (ABAGE), 7'-hydroxy-ABA (7'-OH-ABA), 9'-hydroxy-ABA (9'-OH-ABA), ABAaldehyde, and ABAalcohol--before analysis by a novel technique for these substances, ultra-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-MS/MS). The procedure includes addition of deuterium-labelled standards, extraction with methanol-water-acetic acid (10:89:1, v/v), simple purification by Oasis((R)) HLB cartridges, rapid chromatographic separation by UPLC, and sensitive, accurate quantification by MS/MS in multiple reaction monitoring modes. The detection limits of the technique ranged between 0.1 and 1 pmol for ABAGE and ABA acids in negative ion mode, and 0.01-0.50 pmol for ABAGE, ABAaldehyde, ABAalcohol and the methylated acids in positive ion mode. The fast liquid chromatographic separation and analysis of ABA and its eight measured derivatives by UPLC-ESI-MS/MS provide rapid, accurate and robust quantification of most of the substances, and the low detection limits allow small amounts of tissue (1-5mg) to be used in quantitative analysis. To demonstrate the potential of the technique, we isolated ABA and its metabolites from control and water-stressed tobacco leaf tissues then analysed them by UPLC-ESI-MS/MS. Only ABA, PA, DPA, neoPA, and ABAGE were detected in the samples. PA was the most abundant analyte (ca. 1000 pmol/g f.w.) in both the control and water-stressed tissues, followed by ABAGE and DPA, which were both present at levels ca. 5-fold lower. ABA levels were at least 100-fold lower than PA concentrations, but they increased following the water stress treatment, while ABAGE, PA, and DPA levels decreased. Overall, the technique offers substantial improvements over previously described methods, enabling the detailed, direct study of diverse ABA metabolites in small amounts of plant tissue.

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