Mass spectrometry coupled to imaging techniques: The better the view the greater the challenge
Barceló Coblijn, Gwendolyn
Fernández González, José Andrés
MetadataShow full item record
Frontiers in Physiology 6: (2015) // Article Number 003
These are definitively exciting times for membrane lipid researchers. Once considered just as the cell membrane building blocks, the important role these lipids play is steadily being acknowledged. The improvement occurred in mass spectrometry techniques (MS) allows the establishment of the precise lipid composition of biological extracts. However, to fully understand the biological function of each individual lipid species, we need to know its spatial distribution and dynamics. In the past 10 years, the field has experienced a profound revolution thanks to the development of MS-based techniques allowing lipid imaging (MSI). Images reveal and verify what many lipid researchers had already shown by different means, but none as convincing as an image: each cell type presents a specific lipid composition, which is highly sensitive to its physiological and pathological state. While these techniques will help to place membrane lipids in the position they deserve, they also open the black box containing all the unknown regulatory mechanisms accounting for such tailored lipid composition. Thus, these results urges to different disciplines to redefine their paradigm of study by including the complexity revealed by the MSI techniques.