Automated mass spectrometry imaging with a matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight instrument

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The automated use of a matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometer (MS) is described for image analysis of samples through implementation of new software for instrument control, data acquisition, and data analysis. The software permits automated acquisition of MS MALDI spectra to form an ordered data array and contains display features to provide images at one or more mass-to-charge ratio values. The technique can be used to scan tissue samples, blotted samples, gels, or other sample surfaces where the image analysis of that sample is required. The program achieves a time of typically 1 s per image point, permitting an analysis made up of large numbers of points with high spatial resolution up to 850 dpi. The features of the software are demonstrated in this paper with samples of printed images, where visible images can be compared to those obtained by mass spectrometry. Quantitative aspects are introduced by analyzing a series of sample spots containing different amounts of several proteins.