Once viewed simply as a reservoir for carbon storage, lipids are no longer cast as bystanders in the drama of biological systems. The emerging field of lipidomics is driven by technology, most notably mass spectrometry, but also by complementary approaches for the detection and characterization of lipids and their biosynthetic enzymes in living cells. The development of these integrated tools promises to greatly advance our understanding of the diverse biological roles of lipids (Wenk 2010 – Cell 143:888-95). As an example I will outline our lipidomics program (www.lipidprofiles.com) in host-pathogen interactions. Recent progress in mass spectrometry of mycolic acids (MA) which serve as diagnostic markers for Tuberculosis (TB) case detection and drug efficacy as well as novel affinity probes for capture of lipid enzymes will be presented.
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