Direct profiling of the phospholipid composition of adult Caenorhabditis elegans using whole-body imaging mass spectrometry

Saira Hameed, Koji Ikegami, Eiji Sugiyama, Shoko Matsushita, Yoshishige Kimura, Takahiro Hayasaka, Yuki Sugiura, Noritaka Masaki, Michihiko Waki, Isao Ohta, Md Amir Hossen, Mitsutoshi Setou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A protocol for the direct analysis of the phospholipid composition in the whole body of adult soil nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), was developed, which combined freeze-cracking of the exoskeletal cuticle and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS). Biomolecules in the m/z range from 700 to 900 were more effectively detected in the freezecracked than from simple frozen adult nematode bodies. Different distribution of biomolecules was observed in a nematode body when the matrix was applied with a sublimation deposition method. The whole-body IMS technique was applied on genetically deficient mutant C. elegans to combine whole-body lipidomics and genetics, by comparing the fatty acid compositions, especially of the phosphatidylcholine (PC) species, between the wild-type and fat-1 mutants, which lack the gene encoding an n-3 fatty acid desaturase. A significant reduction of PC(20:5/20:5) and PC(20:4/20:5) and a marked increase of PC(20:4/20:4), PC(20:3/20:4), and PC(20:3/20:3) were detected in the fat-1 mutants in positive ion mode. In addition, phospholipid compositions other than PCs were analyzed in negative ion mode. A loss of a possible phosphatidylinositol (PI) with 18:0/ 20:5 and a compensative accumulation of putative PI(18:0/20:4) were detected in the fat-1 mutants. In conclusion, the whole-body MALDI-IMS technique is useful for the profiling of multiple biomolecules in C. elegans in both intra-and inter-individual levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7589-7602
Number of pages14
JournalAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cuticle
  • Exoskeleton
  • Freeze-cracking
  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ ionization-imaging mass spectrometry
  • Phosphatidylcholine
  • Phosphatidylinositol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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