Untargeted Plasma Metabolite Profiling Reveals the Broad Systemic Consequences of Xanthine Oxidoreductase Inactivation in Mice
A major challenge in systems biology is integration of molecular findings for individual enzyme activities into a cohesive high-level understanding of cellular metabolism and physiology/pathophysiology. However, meaningful prediction for how a perturbed enzyme activity will globally impact metabolism in a cell, tissue or intact organisms is precluded by multiple unknowns, including in vivo enzymatic rates, subcellular distribution and pathway interactions. To address this challenge, metabolomics offers the potential to simultaneously survey changes in thousands of structurally diverse metabolites within complex biological matrices. The present study assessed the capability of untargeted plasma metabolite profiling to discover systemic changes arising from inactivation of xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR), an enzyme that catalyzes the final steps in purine degradation. Using LC-MS coupled with a multivariate statistical data analysis platform, we confidently surveyed >3,700 plasma metabolites (50–1,000 Da) for differential expression in XOR wildtype vs. mice with inactivated XOR, arising from gene deletion or pharmacological inhibition. Results confirmed the predicted derangements in purine metabolism, but also revealed unanticipated perturbations in metabolism of pyrimidines, nicotinamides, tryptophan, phospholipids, Krebs and urea cycles, and revealed kidney dysfunction biomarkers. Histochemical studies confirmed and characterized kidney failure in xor-nullizygous mice. These findings provide new insight into XOR functions and demonstrate the power of untargeted metabolite profiling for systemic discovery of direct and indirect consequences of gene mutations and drug treatments.