A high-sensitivity electrospray ionization triple quadrupole mass spectrometer with an ultra-performance liquid chromatography system will be acquired for the Kansas Lipidomics Research Center (KLRC), an analytical laboratory performing mass spectrometry-based lipid analysis for scientists from all over the world. Accessories required for lipid profiling (analysis) include a robotic autosampler and a high-volume syringe pump for sample introduction and a server to provide mass spectral data processing capabilities. A coordinator/operator will schedule and maintain the instrument and coordinate its use to ensure access, giving priority to scientists whose projects require analytical sensitivity or the high throughput that a high-sensitivity mass spectrometer can provide. The requested instrument, a Waters Xevo TQ-S, is at least 40-fold more sensitive than triple quadrupole mass spectrometers acquired by KLRC in 2003 and 2006. Acquisition of a high-sensitivity electrospray ionization triple quadrupole mass spectrometer will dramatically increase KLRC?s ability to detect and develop analyses for scarce compounds, including previously undescribed lipids, and will provide capability to separate and detect isomeric compounds. Planned projects investigate the functions of lipids and lipid metabolizing, transporting, and signaling genes and gene products in plants, animals, and/or protozoa. Mass spectrometry-based lipid analysis, or lipidomics, has not reached its ultimate potential as an analytical tool, because the methods, materials, and computational resources to effectively carry out lipid profiling are not conveniently available. As part of this project, KLRC personnel will aid scientists who wish to implement lipidomics analyses at their institutions. In particular, KLRC will provide protocols for sample preparation, mass spectral methods, and use of an online data processing system. KLRC will share standard compounds, as feasible, and deliver web-based training and consultation to those setting up lipidomics analytical protocols at their institutions.

Acquisition of the high-sensitivity triple quadrupole mass spectrometer and accessories by the Kansas Lipidomics Research Center will enhance or enable proposed and ongoing scientific plans of researchers from fifteen laboratories in eight U.S. states and three countries. The high-sensitivity instrument also will be made available to new users and over 200 past and current KLRC analytical users. Use of the much-needed, high-sensitivity electrospray ionization triple quadrupole mass spectrometer will directly impact and advance the scientific training of 20 postdoctoral trainees, 32 graduate students, and 47 undergraduates in 15 research programs. The benefited undergraduates will include nine students from historically Black Langston University who are analyzing lipids during light stress responses in an ongoing project. Trainees from Massachusetts and China will visit KLRC for hands-on training. A new lecture and laboratory course on lipidomic technologies, suitable for graduate and upper-level undergraduate students, will be offered at Kansas State University. Using the high-sensitivity triple quadrupole mass spectrometer and accessories, functions of lipids and lipid-related metabolism and signaling will be investigated in animals, plants, and other organisms. Several plant biologists will use the instrument to delineate and functionally characterize the lipid metabolic events that occur during plant responses to environmental stress and during development, including events that regulate the production of seed oils. The new instrument also will aid scientists identifying mediators of tissue injury and defining "substrates" for transport proteins. The ability, provided by the instrumentation, to discover and quantify low-concentration lipids will consistently add value to ongoing and future projects by revealing information that will be transformative in understanding metabolic and signaling pathways.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Robert Fleischmann
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Kansas State University
United States
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