The MS/MS spectral tag (MS2T) library-based peak annotation procedure was developed for informative non-targeted metabolic profiling analysis using LC-MS. An MS2T library of Arabidopsis metabolites was created from a set of MS/MS spectra acquired using the automatic data acquisition function of the mass spectrometer. By using this library, we obtained structural information for the detected peaks in the metabolic profile data without performing additional MS/MS analysis; this was achieved by searching for the corresponding MS2T accession in the library. In the case of metabolic profile data for Arabidopsis tissues containing more than 1000 peaks, approximately 50% of the peaks were tagged by MS2Ts, and 90 peaks were identified or tentatively annotated with metabolite information by searching the metabolite databases and manually interpreting the MS2Ts. A comparison of metabolic profiles among the Arabidopsis tissues revealed that many unknown metabolites accumulated in a tissue-specific manner, some of which were deduced to be unusual Arabidopsis metabolites based on the MS2T data. Candidate genes responsible for these biosyntheses could be predicted by projecting the results to the transcriptome data. The method was also used for metabolic phenotyping of a subset of Ds transposon-inserted lines of Arabidopsis, resulting in clarification of the functions of reported genes involved in glycosylation of flavonoids. Thus, non-targeted metabolic profiling analysis using MS2T annotation methods could prove to be useful for investigating novel functions of secondary metabolites in plants
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