Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) is a powerful tool to visualize the spatial distribution of molecules on a tissue section. The main limitation of MALDI-MSI of proteins is the lack of direct identification. Therefore, this study focuses on a MSI~LC-MS/MS-LF workflow to link the results from MALDI-MSI with potential peak identification and label-free quantitation, using only one tissue section. At first, we studied the impact of matrix deposition and laser ablation on protein extraction from the tissue section. Then, we did a back-correlation of the m/z of the proteins detected by MALDI-MSI to those identified by label-free quantitation. This allowed us to compare the label-free quantitation of proteins obtained in LC-MS/MS with the peak intensities observed in MALDI-MSI. We managed to link identification to nine peaks observed by MALDI-MSI. The results showed that the MSI~LC-MS/MS-LF workflow (i) allowed us to study a representative muscle proteome compared to a classical bottom-up workflow; and (ii) was sparsely impacted by matrix deposition and laser ablation. This workflow, performed as a proof-of-concept, suggests that a single tissue section can be used to perform MALDI-MSI and protein extraction, identification, and relative quantitation.
Théron, L., Centeno, D., Coudy-Gandilhon, C., Pujos-Guillot, E., Astruc, T., Rémond, D., … Chambon, C. (2016). A proof of concept to bridge the gap between mass spectrometry imaging, protein identification and relative quantitation: MSI~LC-MS/MS-LF. Proteomes, 4(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/proteomes4040032