Rapid demonstration of diversity of sulfatide molecular species from biological materials by MALDI-TOF MS

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By combining the partition method for enrichment of sulfatides without any chromatographic procedures and the preparation method of lysosulfatides, we succeeded in analyzing these sulfated glycosphingolipids from biological materials by matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to reduce the complexity of mass fragmentation patterns within a day. We found that sulfated GalCer (HSO3-3Gal β 1Cer) (SM4s [galactosylsulfatide]) was composed of different species. While composition of SM4s specifically depended on source materials, it always contained hydroxy fatty acids of various degrees. In addition to the common sphingoid 4-sphingenine (d18:1), uncommon/unusual sphingoids phytosphingosine (4-hydroxysphinganine) (t18:0), eicosasphinganine (d20:0), 4-eicosasphingenine (d20:1), and sphingadienine (d18:2) were easily detected. Finally, in addition to SM4s, sulfatide sulfated LacCer (HSO3-3Gal β 4Glc β 1Cer) (SM3 [sulfated lactosylceramide]) and sulfated Gg3Cer (GalNAc β 4(HSO3-3)Gal β 4Glc β 1Cer) (SM2 [sulfated gangliotriaosylceramide]) were clearly detected in renal tubule cells. The major SM4s was composed of ceramides possessing d18:1 with C22 hydroxy fatty acids (C22:0h), C23:0h, and C24:0h, whereas the major SM3/SM2 were composed of ceramides possessing t18:0 with C22 normal fatty acids (C22:0), C23:0, C24:0. Namely, in these two series of sulfatides, either fatty acids or sphingoids were hydroxylated, and chain lengths of these components were exactly the same, consequently resulting in a similar polarity of ceramide moieties in these sulfatide species. These results demonstrated diversities of sulfatide molecular species, not only with respect to sugar moieties but also to ceramide moieties, which are probably important for specific effective functions in particular microenvironments such as lipid membrane microdomains.

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