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    Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) is a powerful tool for label-free mapping of the spatial distribution of proteins in biological tissues. We have previously demonstrated imaging of individual proteoforms in biological tissues using nanospray desorption electrospray ionization (nano-DESI), an ambient liquid extraction-based MSI technique. Nano-DESI MSI generates multiply charged protein ions, which is advantageous for their identification using top-down proteomics analysis. In this study, we demonstrate proteoform mapping in biological tissues with a spatial resolution down to 7 μm using nano-DESI MSI. A substantial decrease in protein signals observed in high-spatial-resolution MSI makes these experiments challenging. We have enhanced the sensitivity of nano-DESI MSI experiments by optimizing the design of the capillary-based probe and the thickness of the tissue section. In addition, we demonstrate that oversampling may be used to further improve spatial resolution at little or no expense to sensitivity. These developments represent a new step in MSI-based spatial proteomics, which complements targeted imaging modalities widely used for studying biological systems.


    Manxi Yang, Daisy Unsihuay, Hang Hu, Frederick Nguele Meke, Zihan Qu, Zhong-Yin Zhang, Julia Laskin. Nano-DESI Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Proteoforms in Biological Tissues with High Spatial Resolution. Analytical chemistry. 2023 Mar 28;95(12):5214-5222

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    PMID: 36917636

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