Computational solutions in redox lipidomics – Current strategies and future perspectives

November 2019.

Ni Z, Goracci L, Cruciani G, Fedorova M


The high chemical diversity of lipids allows them to perform multiple biological functions ranging from servingas structural building blocks of biological membranes to regulation of metabolism and signal transduction. In addition to the native lipidome, lipid species derived from enzymatic and non-enzymatic modifications (the epilipidome) make the overall picture even more complex, as their functions are still largely unknown. Oxidized lipids represent the fraction of epilipidome which has attracted high scientific attention due to their apparent involvement in the onset and development of numerous human disorders.

Development of high-throughput analytical methods such as liquid chromatography coupled on-line to mass spectrometry provides the possibility to address epilipidome diversity in complex biological samples. However, the main bottleneck of redox lipidomics, the branch of lipidomics dealing with the characterization of oxidized lipids, remains the lack of optimal computational tools for robust, accurate and specific identification of already discovered and yet unknown modified lipids. Here we discuss the main principles of high-throughput identification of lipids and their modified forms and review the main software tools currently available in redox lipidomics. Different levels of confidence for software assisted identification of redox lipidome are defined and necessary steps toward optimal computational solutions are proposed.