Analytical Toolbox to Unlock the Diversity of Oxidized Lipids

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Conspectus Lipids are diverse class of small biomolecules represented by a large variety of chemical structures. In addition to the classical biosynthetic routes, lipids can undergo numerous modifications via introduction of small chemical moieties forming hydroxyl, phospho, and nitro derivatives, among others. Such modifications change the physicochemical properties of a parent lipid and usually result in new functionalities either by mediating signaling events or by changing the biophysical properties of lipid membranes. Over the last decades, a large body of evidence indicated the involvement of lipid modifications in a variety of physiological and pathological events. For instance, lipid (per)oxidation for a long time was considered as a hallmark of oxidative stress and related proinflammatory signaling. Recently, however, with the burst in the development of the redox biology field, oxidative modifications of lipids are also recognized as a part of regulatory and adaptive events that are highly specific for particular cell types, tissues, and conditions. The initial diversity of lipid species and the variety of possible lipid modifications result in an extremely large chemical space of the epilipidome, the subset of the natural lipidome formed by enzymatic and non-enzymatic lipid modifications occurring in biological systems. Together with their low natural abundance, structural annotation of modified lipids represents a major analytical challenge limiting the discovery of their natural variety and functions. Furthermore, the number of available chemically characterized standards representing various modified lipid species remains limited, making analytical and functional studies very challenging. Over the past decade we have developed and implemented numerous analytical methods to study lipid modifications and applied them in the context of different biological conditions. In this Account, we outline the development and evolution of modern mass-spectrometry-based techniques for the structural elucidation of modified/oxidized lipids and corresponding applications. Research of our group is mostly focused on redox biology, and thus, our primary interest was always the analysis of lipid modifications introduced by redox disbalance, including lipid peroxidation (LPO), oxygenation, nitration, and glycation. To this end, we developed an array of analytical solutions to measure carbonyls derived from LPO, oxidized and nitrated fatty acid derivatives, and oxidized and glycated complex lipids. We will briefly describe the main analytical challenges along with corresponding solutions developed by our group toward deciphering the complexity of natural epilipdomes, starting from in vitro-oxidized lipid mixtures, artificial membranes, and lipid droplets, to illustrate the diversity of lipid modifications in the context of metabolic diseases and ferroptotic cell death.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835–845
Number of pages11
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85151236737
ORCID /0000-0002-4692-3885/work/149081290
Mendeley 61d40cfa-2bf7-3bef-877b-94865a63713d