Plant and microbial sciences as key drivers in the development of metabolomics research

Aharoni, Asaph, Goodacre, Royston ORCID: 0000-0003-2230-645X and Fernie, Alisdair R
(2023) Plant and microbial sciences as key drivers in the development of metabolomics research. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 120 (12). e2217383120-.

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of the coinage of the term metabolome [S. G. Oliver <i>et al</i>., <i>Trends Biotech.</i> <b>16</b>, 373-378 (1998)]. As the field rapidly advances, it is important to take stock of the progress which has been made to best inform the disciplines future. While a medical-centric perspective on metabolomics has recently been published [M. Giera <i>et al</i>., <i>Cell Metab.</i> <b>34</b>, 21-34 (2022)], this largely ignores the pioneering contributions made by the plant and microbial science communities. In this perspective, we provide a contemporary overview of all fields in which metabolomics is employed with particular emphasis on both methodological and application breakthroughs made in plant and microbial sciences that have shaped this evolving research discipline from the very early days of its establishment. This will not cover all types of metabolomics assays currently employed but will focus mainly on those utilizing mass spectrometry-based measurements since they are currently by far the most prominent. Having established the historical context of metabolomics, we will address the key challenges currently facing metabolomics and offer potential approaches by which these can be faced. Most salient among these is the fact that the vast majority of mass features are as yet not annotated with high confidence; what we may refer to as definitive identification. We discuss the potential of both standard compound libraries and artificial intelligence technologies to address this challenge and the use of natural variance-based approaches such as genome-wide association studies in attempt to assign specific functions to the myriad of structurally similar and complex specialized metabolites. We conclude by stating our contention that as these challenges are epic and that they will need far greater cooperative efforts from biologists, chemists, and computer scientists with an interest in all kingdoms of life than have been made to date. Ultimately, a better linkage of metabolome and genome data will likely also be needed particularly considering the Earth BioGenome Project.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Plants, Artificial Intelligence, Genome-Wide Association Study, Metabolomics, Metabolome
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2023 09:45
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2023 02:14
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2217383120
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