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1.  Ion Mobility Derived Collision Cross Sections to Support Metabolomics Applications 
Analytical Chemistry  2014;86(8):3985-3993.
Metabolomics is a rapidly evolving analytical approach in life and health sciences. The structural elucidation of the metabolites of interest remains a major analytical challenge in the metabolomics workflow. Here, we investigate the use of ion mobility as a tool to aid metabolite identification. Ion mobility allows for the measurement of the rotationally averaged collision cross-section (CCS), which gives information about the ionic shape of a molecule in the gas phase. We measured the CCSs of 125 common metabolites using traveling-wave ion mobility-mass spectrometry (TW-IM-MS). CCS measurements were highly reproducible on instruments located in three independent laboratories (RSD < 5% for 99%). We also determined the reproducibility of CCS measurements in various biological matrixes including urine, plasma, platelets, and red blood cells using ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled with TW-IM-MS. The mean RSD was < 2% for 97% of the CCS values, compared to 80% of retention times. Finally, as proof of concept, we used UPLC–TW-IM-MS to compare the cellular metabolome of epithelial and mesenchymal cells, an in vitro model used to study cancer development. Experimentally determined and computationally derived CCS values were used as orthogonal analytical parameters in combination with retention time and accurate mass information to confirm the identity of key metabolites potentially involved in cancer. Thus, our results indicate that adding CCS data to searchable databases and to routine metabolomics workflows will increase the identification confidence compared to traditional analytical approaches.
PMCID: PMC4004193  PMID: 24640936
2.  A community-driven global reconstruction of human metabolism 
Nature biotechnology  2013;31(5):10.1038/nbt.2488.
Multiple models of human metabolism have been reconstructed, but each represents only a subset of our knowledge. Here we describe Recon 2, a community-driven, consensus ‘metabolic reconstruction’, which is the most comprehensive representation of human metabolism that is applicable to computational modeling. Compared with its predecessors, the reconstruction has improved topological and functional features, including ~2× more reactions and ~1.7× more unique metabolites. Using Recon 2 we predicted changes in metabolite biomarkers for 49 inborn errors of metabolism with 77% accuracy when compared to experimental data. Mapping metabolomic data and drug information onto Recon 2 demonstrates its potential for integrating and analyzing diverse data types. Using protein expression data, we automatically generated a compendium of 65 cell type–specific models, providing a basis for manual curation or investigation of cell-specific metabolic properties. Recon 2 will facilitate many future biomedical studies and is freely available at
PMCID: PMC3856361  PMID: 23455439
3.  The human metabolic reconstruction Recon 1 directs hypotheses of novel human metabolic functions 
BMC Systems Biology  2011;5:155.
Metabolic network reconstructions formalize our knowledge of metabolism. Gaps in these networks pinpoint regions of metabolism where biological components and functions are "missing." At the same time, a major challenge in the post genomic era involves characterisation of missing biological components to complete genome annotation.
We used the human metabolic network reconstruction RECON 1 and established constraint-based modelling tools to uncover novel functions associated with human metabolism. Flux variability analysis identified 175 gaps in RECON 1 in the form of blocked reactions. These gaps were unevenly distributed within metabolic pathways but primarily found in the cytosol and often caused by compounds whose metabolic fate, rather than production, is unknown. Using a published algorithm, we computed gap-filling solutions comprised of non-organism specific metabolic reactions capable of bridging the identified gaps. These candidate solutions were found to be dependent upon the reaction environment of the blocked reaction. Importantly, we showed that automatically generated solutions could produce biologically realistic hypotheses of novel human metabolic reactions such as of the fate of iduronic acid following glycan degradation and of N-acetylglutamate in amino acid metabolism.
The results demonstrate how metabolic models can be utilised to direct hypotheses of novel metabolic functions in human metabolism; a process that we find is heavily reliant upon manual curation and biochemical insight. The effectiveness of a systems approach for novel biochemical pathway discovery in mammals is demonstrated and steps required to tailor future gap filling algorithms to mammalian metabolic networks are proposed.
PMCID: PMC3224382  PMID: 21962087
4.  Linkage of Osteoporosis to Chromosome 20p12 and Association to BMP2 
PLoS Biology  2003;1(3):e69.
Osteoporotic fractures are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in ageing populations. Osteoporosis, defined as low bone mineral density (BMD) and associated fractures, have significant genetic components that are largely unknown. Linkage analysis in a large number of extended osteoporosis families in Iceland, using a phenotype that combines osteoporotic fractures and BMD measurements, showed linkage to Chromosome 20p12.3 (multipoint allele-sharing LOD, 5.10; p value, 6.3 × 10−7), results that are statistically significant after adjusting for the number of phenotypes tested and the genome-wide search. A follow-up association analysis using closely spaced polymorphic markers was performed. Three variants in the bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) gene, a missense polymorphism and two anonymous single nucleotide polymorphism haplotypes, were determined to be associated with osteoporosis in the Icelandic patients. The association is seen with many definitions of an osteoporotic phenotype, including osteoporotic fractures as well as low BMD, both before and after menopause. A replication study with a Danish cohort of postmenopausal women was conducted to confirm the contribution of the three identified variants. In conclusion, we find that a region on the short arm of Chromosome 20 contains a gene or genes that appear to be a major risk factor for osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures, and our evidence supports the view that BMP2 is at least one of these genes.
Genetic analysis of Icelandic families and a replication study in a Danish population provide evidence that variation in the gene BMP2 might contribute to osteoporosis
PMCID: PMC270020  PMID: 14691541

Results 1-4 (4)