Enhanced metabolite identification with MS(E) and a semi-automated software for structural elucidation

November 2010.

Bonn B; Leandersson C; Fontaine F; Zamora I


The identification of metabolites is almost exclusively done with liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MSMS) and despite the enormous progress in the development of these techniques and software for handling of data this is a time-consuming task. In this study the use of quadrupole time-of-flight (QTOF)-generated MS(E) and MS/MS data were compared with respect to rationalization of metabolites. In addition Mass-MetaSite, a semi-automated software for metabolite identification, was evaluated. The program combines the information from MS raw data, in the form of collision-induced dissociation spectra, with a prediction of the site of metabolism in order to assign the structure of a metabolite. The aim of the software is to mimic the rationalization of fragment ions performed by a biotransformation scientist in the process of structural elucidation. For this evaluation, metabolite identification in human liver microsomes was accomplished for 19 commercially available compounds and 15 in-house compounds. The results were very encouraging and for 96% of the metabolites the same structures were assigned using MS(E) compared with MSMS acquired data. The possibility of using MS(E) could considerably reduce the analysis time. Moreover, Mass-MetaSite performed well and the correct assigned structure, compared to manual inspection of the data, was picked in the first rank in ∼80% of the cases. In conclusion MS(E) could be successfully used for metabolite identification in order to reduce time of analysis and Mass-MetaSite could alleviate the work of a biotransformation scientist and decrease the workload by assigning the structure for a majority of the metabolites.

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