Paper – Lipid profiling of frog embryos

Publication (open access):Open Access

Spatiotemporal lipid profiling during early embryo development of Xenopus laevis using dynamic Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) Imaging
Hua Tian, John S. Fletcher, Raphael Thuret, Alex Henderson, Nancy Papalopulu, John C. Vickerman and Nicholas P. Lockyer
Journal of Lipid Research (2014)


Time-of-Flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) imaging has been used for the direct analysis of single intact Xenopus laevis (X. laevis) embryo surfaces, locating multiple lipids during fertilisation and the early embryo development stages with sub-cellular lateral resolution (~4 Microns). The method avoids the complicated sample preparation for lipid analysis of the embryos, which requires selective chemical extraction of a pool of samples and chromatographic separation, while preserving the spatial distribution of biological species. The results show ToF-SIMS is capable of profiling multiple components (e.g., glycerophosphocholine, sphingomyelin, cholesterol, vitamin E, diacylglycerol, triacylglycerol) in a single X. laevis embryo. We observe lipid remodelling during fertilisation and early embryo development via time course sampling. The study also reveals the lipid distribution on the gametes fusion site. The methodology used in the study opens the possibility of studying developmental biology using high resolution imaging MS and of understanding the functional role of the biological molecules.