Ambient ionization mass spectrometry imaging of rohitukine, a chromone anti-cancer alkaloid, during seed development in Dysoxylum binectariferum Hook.f (Meliaceae).
Rohitukine, a chromone alkaloid, possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and immuno-modulatory properties. It has been reported from four species, belonging to the families, Meliaceae and Rubiaceae. Stem bark of Dysoxylum binectariferum (Meliaceae) accumulates the highest amount of rohitukine (3-7% by dry weight). In this study, we examine the spatial and temporal distribution of rohitukine and related compounds during various stages of seed development in D. binectariferum using desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry imaging (DESI MSI). Rohitukine (m/z 306.2) accumulation increased from early seed development to seed maturity stage. The spatial distribution of rohitukine was largely restricted to the cotyledonary tissue followed by the embryo and least in the seed coat. Besides rohitukine, rohitukine acetate (m/z 348.2) and glycosylated rohitukine (m/z 468.2) were also detected, both through mass fragmentation and exact mass analysis through Orbitrap mass spectrometry. These results indicate a dynamic pattern of chromane alkaloid accumulation through seed development in D. binectariferum.