The metabolome comprises the entirety of all small molecules found in the different compartments of an organism. These are not only end products or intermediates but integral as signaling molecules of metabolic pathways. The metabolome is influenced by protein expression (proteome), the read-out of the individual’s specific genome (DNA) and transcriptome (RNA).
But this is not a one-way track: environmental factors also play an important role in the regulation of metabolic pathways. Hence, in biological systems the interactions between the four “omics” (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics) are in a continuous multidimensional flow. Significant deviations of metabolite levels can be an indication of changes in the genome, whether of benign or malignant origin, or an adaptation to external factors. The number of metabolites in any organism is vast and their entirety cannot be captured by a single analytical method.
Quantitative targeted metabolomics, with a focus on a subset of hundreds of metabolites, is a valuable tool to study possible underlying mechanisms. Fraunhofer ITEM provides certified mass spectrometry (MS)-based metabolomic analyses involving two LC-MS platforms for the kit-based analysis of the metabolome. In combination with other methods, over 600 metabolites can be quantified.