With about 200 000 phytochemicals in existence, identifying those of biomedical significance is a mammoth task. In the postgenomic era, relating metabolite fingerprints, abundances, and profiles to genotype is also a large task. Ion analysis using Fourier transformed ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) may provide a high-throughput approach to measure genotype dependency of the inferred metabolome if reproducible techniques can be established. Ion profile inferred metabolite fingerprints are coproducts. We used FT-ICR-MS-derived ion analysis to examine gdhA (glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH; EC 184.108.40.206)) transgenic Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) carrying out altered glutamate, amino acid, and carbon metabolisms, that fundamentally alter plant productivity. Cause and effect between gdhA expression, glutamate metabolism, and plant phenotypes was analyzed by 13NH4+ labeling of amino acid fractions, and by FT-ICR-MS analysis of metabolites. The gdhA transgenic plants increased 13N labeling of glutamate and glutamine significantly. FT-ICR-MS detected 2 012 ions reproducible in 2 to 4 ionization protocols. There were 283 ions in roots and 98 ions in leaves that appeared to significantly change abundance due to the measured GDH activity. About 58% percent of ions could not be used to infer a corresponding metabolite. From the 42% of ions that inferred known metabolites we found that certain amino acids, organic acids, and sugars increased and some fatty acids decreased. The transgene caused increased ammonium assimilation and detectable ion variation. Thirty-two compounds with biomedical significance were altered in abundance by GDH including 9 known carcinogens and 14 potential drugs. Therefore, the GDH transgene may lead to new uses for crops like tobacco.
Mungur, R., Glass, A. D., Goodenow, D. B. and Lightfoot, David A. "Metabolite Fingerprinting in Transgenic Nicotiana tabacum Altered by the Escherichia coli Glutamate Dehydrogenase Gene." (Jan 2005).