Mapping an atlas of tissue-specific Drosophila melanogaster metabolomes by high resolution mass spectrometry

Venkateswara R Chintapalli, Mohammed Al Bratty, Dominika Korzekwa, David G Watson, Julian A T Dow

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Metabolomics can provide exciting insights into organismal function, but most work on simple models has focussed on the whole organism metabolome, so missing the contributions of individual tissues. Comprehensive metabolite profiles for ten tissues from adult Drosophila melanogaster were obtained here by two chromatographic methods, a hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) method for polar metabolites and a lipid profiling method also based on HILIC, in combination with an Orbitrap Exactive instrument. Two hundred and forty two polar metabolites were putatively identified in the various tissues, and 251 lipids were observed in positive ion mode and 61 in negative ion mode. Although many metabolites were detected in all tissues, every tissue showed characteristically abundant metabolites which could be rationalised against specific tissue functions. For example, the cuticle contained high levels of glutathione, reflecting a role in oxidative defence; the alimentary canal (like vertebrate gut) had high levels of acylcarnitines for fatty acid metabolism, and the head contained high levels of ether lipids. The male accessory gland uniquely contained decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine. These data thus both provide valuable insights into tissue function, and a reference baseline, compatible with the transcriptomic resource, for further metabolomic analysis of this important model organism, for example in the modelling of human inborn errors of metabolism, aging or metabolic imbalances such as diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere78066
Number of pages13
JournalPLOS One
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2013


  • metabolomics
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • tissue atlas

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