Globally Optimized Targeted Mass Spectrometry: Reliable Metabolomics Analysis with Broad Coverage

Haiwei Gu, Ping Zhang, Jiangjiang Zhu, Daniel Raftery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Targeted detection is one of the most important methods in mass spectrometry (MS)-based metabolomics; however, its major limitation is the reduced metabolome coverage that results from the limited set of targeted metabolites typically used in the analysis. In this study we describe a new approach, globally optimized targeted (GOT)-MS, that combines many of the advantages of targeted detection and global profiling in metabolomics analysis, including the capability to detect unknowns, broad metabolite coverage, and excellent quantitation. The key step in GOT-MS is a global search of precursor and product ions using a single liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole (LC-QQQ) mass spectrometer. Here, focused on measuring serum metabolites, we obtained 595 precursor ions and 1"890 multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) transitions, under positive and negative ionization modes in the mass range of 60-600 Da. For many of the MRMs/metabolites under investigation, the analytical performance of GOT-MS is better than or at least comparable to that obtained by global profiling using a quadrupole-time-of-flight (Q-TOF) instrument of similar vintage. Using a study of serum metabolites in colorectal cancer (CRC) as a representative example, GOT-MS significantly outperformed a large targeted MS assay containing ∼160 biologically important metabolites and provided a complementary approach to traditional global profiling using Q-TOF-MS. GOT-MS thus expands and optimizes the detection capabilities for QQQ-MS through a novel approach and should have the potential to significantly advance both basic and clinical metabolic research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12355-12362
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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