Phosphorus NMR and Its Application to Metabolomics

Fatema Bhinderwala, Paula Evans, Kaleb Jones, Benjamin R. Laws, Thomas G. Smith, Martha Morton, Robert Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Stable isotopes are routinely employed by NMR metabolomics to highlight specific metabolic processes and to monitor pathway flux. 13C-carbon and 15N-nitrogen labeled nutrients are convenient sources of isotope tracers and are commonly added as supplements to a variety of biological systems ranging from cell cultures to animal models. Unlike 13C and 15N, 31P-phosphorus is a naturally abundant and NMR active isotope that does not require an external supplemental source. To date, 31P NMR has seen limited usage in metabolomics because of a lack of reference spectra, difficulties in sample preparation, and an absence of two-dimensional (2D) NMR experiments, but 31P NMR has the potential of expanding the coverage of the metabolome by detecting phosphorus-containing metabolites. Phosphorylated metabolites regulate key cellular processes, serve as a surrogate for intracellular pH conditions, and provide a measure of a cell's metabolic energy and redox state, among other processes. Thus, incorporating 31P NMR into a metabolomics investigation will enable the detection of these key cellular processes. To facilitate the application of 31P NMR in metabolomics, we present a unified protocol that allows for the simultaneous and efficient detection of 1H-, 13C-, 15N-, and 31P-labeled metabolites. The protocol includes the application of a 2D 1H-31P HSQC-TOCSY experiment to detect 31P-labeled metabolites from heterogeneous biological mixtures, methods for sample preparation to detect 1H-, 13C-, 15N-, and 31P-labeled metabolites from a single NMR sample, and a data set of one-dimensional (1D) 31P NMR and 2D 1H-31P HSQC-TOCSY spectra of 38 common phosphorus-containing metabolites to assist in metabolite assignments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9536-9545
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 21 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1660921. This work was supported in part by funding from the Redox Biology Center (P30 GM103335, NIGMS) and the Nebraska Center for Integrated Biomolecular Communication (P20 GM113126, NIGMS). The research was performed in facilities renovated with support from the National Institutes of Health (RR015468-01).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.


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