Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) imaging has been used for the direct analysis of single intact Xenopus laevis embryo surfaces, locating multiple lipids during fertilization and the early embryo development stages with subcellular lateral resolution (∼4 μm). 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, SM, cholesterol, vitamin E, diacylglycerol, and triacylglycerol) in a single X. laevis embryo. We observe lipid remodeling during fertilization and early embryo development via time course sampling. The study also reveals the lipid distribution on the gamete 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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology