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From chemRxiv
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Imaging mass spectrometry of isotopically-resolved intact proteins on a trapped ion-mobility quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer

In this work, we demonstrate rapid, high spatial, and high spectral resolution imaging of intact proteins by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) on a hybrid quadrupole-reflectron time-of-flight (qTOF) mass spectrometer equipped with trapped ion mobility spectrometry (TIMS). Historically, untargeted MALDI IMS of proteins has been performed on TOF mass spectrometers. While advances in TOF instrumentation have enabled rapid, high spatial resolution IMS of intact proteins, TOF mass spectrometers generate relatively low-resolution mass spectra with limited mass accuracy. Conversely, the implementation of MALDI sources on high-resolving power Fourier transform (FT) mass spectrometers has allowed IMS experiments to be conducted with high spectral resolution with the caveat of increasingly long data acquisition times. As illustrated here, qTOF mass spectrometers enable protein imaging with the combined advantages of TOF and FT mass spectrometers. Protein isotope distributions were resolved for both a protein standard mixture and proteins detected from a whole-body mouse pup tissue section. Rapid (~10 pixels/s) 10 μm lateral spatial resolution IMS was performed on a rat brain tissue section while maintaining isotopic spectral resolution. Lastly, proof-of-concept MALDI-TIMS data was acquired from a protein mixture to demonstrate the ability to differentiate charge states by ion mobility. These experiments highlight the advantages of qTOF and timsTOF platforms for resolving and interpreting complex protein spectra generated from tissue by IMS.
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Published on November 20, 2023
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