Welcome to the web portal for Lipidomics Informatics for Life Sciences (LIFS)
Even with a lipid content of over 10% in the human body, lipids were not in the central scientific focus during the last decade. However, more and more evidence proofs that non-genetically determined biomolecules such as metabolites and lipids play key roles in biomolecular regulation. Today, it is obvious that lipids are not only important for energy homeostasis and as an environmental-cellular barrier, but also that they represent a central part of our signal transduction machinery.
Disruptions of the sensitive lipid metabolism are highly correlated with different types of diseases, including thrombocytopenia, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity and hyperlipidemia. This is especially true for the latter ones, which are also reaching pandemic levels, causing a larger annual health burden than infectious diseases. Therefore, lipid metabolism is again becoming an emerging scientific field and is a central part of pharmacological research today (statins, cyclooxygenase inhibitors, endurobol in doping).
Thus, the mission of the LIFS consortium partner groups are to understand the lipids in context with their proteins (enzymes) and building blocks (metabolites) to form an integrative, systems' biology view.
de.NBI and LIFS
Lipidomics encompasses analytical approaches that aim to identify and quantify the complete set of lipids, defined as the lipidome in a given cell, tissue or organism as well as their interactions with other molecules. The majority of lipidomics workflows is based on mass spectrometry and has been proven as a powerful tool in system biology in concert with other Omics disciplines. Unfortunately, bioinformatics infrastructures for this relatively young discipline are limited only to some specialists. Services, search engines, quantification algorithms, visualization tools and databases developed by the ‘Lipidomics Informatics for Life-Science’ (LIFS) partners will be established and hosted via the LIFS portal to provide broad access to these specialized bioinformatics pipelines.
There are many medical challenges related to lipid metabolic alterations that will be fostered by capacity building suggested by LIFS. LIFS is member of the ‘German Network for Bioinformatics’ (de.NBI) node for ‘Bioinformatics for Proteomics’ (BioInfra.Prot) and will provide access to the described software as well as to tutorials and consulting services for lipidomics research and applications via the LIFS web-portal.
In particular, we develop and maintain the following software tools:
- LipidCreator - lipidomics assay design and library generation for targeted lipidomics, integrated with Skyline
- LipidXplorer - shotgun lipidomics, identification and quantification
- LUX Score - qualitative lipidome comparison based on a measure of structural homology between lipidomes similar to genetic analyses
- Clover - quantitative, multi-factorial visualization of lipidomics data, statistical comparison
- LipidCompass - quantitative lipidomics experiment database to compare lipid levels across studies, samples, tissues and species
Standardization in Lipidomics
LIFS collaborates with the Lipidomics Standards Initiative on standardization efforts concerning lipid identification, quantification, naming and reporting.
The mzTab-M: a data standard for sharing quantitative results in mass spectrometry metabolomics is a candidate to become the format of choice to report results from quantitative lipidomics experiments.
More information on mzTab-M for lipidomics is available at our GitHub project.
Dominik Schwudke, Andrej Shevchenko, Robert Ahrends, Nils Hoffmann