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Spatiotemporal lipid profiling during early embryo development of Xenopus laevis using dynamic Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) Imaging

Journal article
Authors Hua Tian
John S. Fletcher
Raphael Thuret
Alex Henderson
Nancy Papalopulu
John Vickerman
Nicholas Lockyer
Published in Journal of Lipid Research
Volume 55
Issue 9
Pages 1970-1980
ISSN 0022-2275
Publication year 2014
Published at
Pages 1970-1980
Language en
Subject categories Developmental Biology, Analytical Chemistry


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.

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