Little is known about the metabolic regulation of rare cell populations because most metabolites are hard to detect in small numbers of cells. We previously described a method for metabolomic profiling of flow cytometrically-isolated hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that detects 60 metabolites in 10,000 cells (Agathocleous et al., 2017). Here we describe a new method involving hydrophilic liquid interaction chromatography and high-sensitivity orbitrap mass spectrometry that detected 160 metabolites in 10,000 HSCs, including many more glycolytic and lipid intermediates. We improved chromatographic separation, increased mass resolution, minimized ion suppression, and eliminated sample drying. Most metabolite levels did not significantly change during cell isolation. Mouse HSCs exhibited increased glycerophospholipids relative to bone marrow cells and methotrexate treatment altered purine biosynthesis. Circulating human melanoma cells were depleted for purine intermediates relative to subcutaneous tumors, suggesting decreased purine synthesis during metastasis. These methods facilitate the routine metabolomic analysis of rare cells from tissues.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and the source data files.
- Thomas P Mathews
- Sean J Morrison
- Sean J Morrison
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All mouse experiments complied with all relevant ethical regulations and were performed according to protocols approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (protocols 2016-101360 and 2019-102632).
- Matthew G Vander Heiden, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
© 2021, DeVilbiss et al.
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