CD8+ T cells detect and kill infected or cancerous cells. When activated from their naïve state, T cells undergo a complex transition, including major metabolic reprogramming. Detailed resolution of metabolic dynamics is needed to advance the field of immunometabolism. Here, we outline methodologies that when utilized in parallel achieve broad coverage of the metabolome. Specifically, we used a combination of 2 flow injection analysis (FIA) and 3 liquid chromatography (LC) methods in combination with positive and negative mode high-resolution mass spectrometry (MS) to study the transition from naïve to effector T cells with fine-grained time resolution. Depending on the method, between 54% and 98% of measured metabolic features change in a time-dependent manner, with the major changes in both polar metabolites and lipids occurring in the first 48 h. The statistical analysis highlighted the remodeling of the polyamine biosynthesis pathway, with marked differences in the dynamics of precursors, intermediates, and cofactors. Moreover, phosphatidylcholines, the major class of membrane lipids, underwent a drastic shift in acyl chain composition with polyunsaturated species decreasing from 60% to 25% of the total pool and specifically depleting species containing a 20:4 fatty acid. We hope that this data set with a total of over 11,000 features recorded with multiple MS methodologies for 9 time points will be a useful resource for future work.
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