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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2012 May;403(5):1353-60. doi: 10.1007/s00216-012-5928-4. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

Determination of trehalose-6-phosphate in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings by hydrophilic-interaction liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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Biomolecular Analysis, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


A hydrophilic-interaction chromatography (HILIC) method coupled to electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) was developed for the determination of trehalose-6-phophate (Tre6P) in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. The method was optimized for MS detection and separation of Tre6P from its isomers, such as sucrose-6-phosphate, by testing eluent pH, type of organic solvent and alkalinizer, and gradient conditions. Tre6P could be resolved from matrix components within 28 min by using a water-acetonitrile gradient (0.2 ml/min) at pH 12 with piperidine as alkalinizer. The method was validated for concentrations between 25 and 4,000 nM Tre6P in A. thaliana seedling extracts. Seedlings were extracted with consecutive liquid-liquid and solid-phase extractions, and analyzed with HILIC-MS. Obtained accuracy (80-120 %) and precision (<24 %) demonstrated the suitability of HILIC-MS for determining Tre6P level variations in plants. The limit of detection (LOD) was 3.5 nM Tre6P in extracts corresponding to 4.1 pmol.g(-1) fresh plant weight (FW). This is a considerable improvement with respect to anion-exchange chromatography (AEC)-MS (40 nM) and capillary electrophoresis-MS (80 nM). Furthermore, HILIC-MS analysis times were shorter than with AEC-MS (30 and 60 min, respectively). The applicability of the HILIC-MS method was demonstrated by the analysis of extracts from seedlings grown on medium containing 100 mM sorbitol or trehalose, resulting in mean Tre6P concentrations of 0.2 and 1.9 nmol.g(-1) FW, respectively. Similar concentrations were found with AEC-MS. HILIC-MS was also evaluated at a high flow rate (2.0 ml/min). This high-speed method resolved the Suc6P and Tre6P peaks within 3 min yielding a detection limit of 1.3 nM Tre6P.

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