Anal Chim Acta. 2023 Oct 23;1279:341809. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2023.341809. Epub 2023 Sep 8.
Intracellular metabolic profiling reveals real-time metabolic information useful for the study of underlying mechanisms of cells in particular conditions such as drug resistance. However, mass spectrometry (MS), one of the leading metabolomics technologies, usually requires a large number of cells and complex pretreatments. Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has an ultrahigh detection sensitivity and specificity, favorable for metabolomics analysis. However, some targeted SERS methods focus on very limited metabolite without global bioprofiling, and some label-free approaches try to fingerprint the metabolic response based on whole SERS spectral classification, but comprehensive interpretation of biological mechanisms was lacking. (95) RESULTS: We proposed a label-free SERS technique for intracellular metabolic profiling in complex cellular lysates within 3 min. We first compared three kinds of cellular lysis methods and sonication lysis shows the highest extraction efficiency of metabolites. To obtain comprehensive metabolic information, we collected a spectral set for each sample and further qualified them by the Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC) to calculate how many spectra should be acquired at least to gain the adequate information from a statistical and global view. In addition, according to our measurements with 10 pure metabolites, we can understand the spectra acquired from complex cellular lysates of different cell lines more precisely. Finally, we further disclosed the variations of 22 SERS bands in enzalutamide-resistant prostate cancer cells and some are associated with the androgen receptor signaling activity and the methionine salvage pathway in the drug resistance process, which shows the same metabolic trends as MS. (149) SIGNIFICANCE: Our technique has the capability to capture the intracellular metabolic fingerprinting with the optimized lysis approach and spectral set collection, showing high potential in rapid, sensitive and global metabolic profiling in complex biosamples and clinical liquid biopsy. This gives a new perspective to the study of SERS in insightful understanding of relevant biological mechanisms. (54).