Mass Spectrometry-Based Tissue Imaging

  • Carol E. Parker
  • Derek Smith
  • Detlev Suckau
  • Christoph H. Borchers


In MALDI (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization) mass spectrometry, the sample consists of a thin film of proteins or peptides that has been cocrystallized with a matrix selected to “match” the frequency of a UV laser. The laser vaporizes and ionizes the sample, which is then mass-analyzed, typically in a time-of-flight (TOF) mass analyzer. Since the footprint of the laser is small, and the sample is a solid rather than a solution, it is easy to see how this led to the idea of “rastering” the laser across the sample to form a molecular image.

After about ten years of development, MALDI imaging has finally come of age. This is partly due to newer MALDI-MS instrumentation that is capable of higher mass accuracy and resolution, as well as the development of MALDI-MS/MS for gas-phase sequencing. Several commercially-available sprayer/spotters have recently been developed which can produce a uniform coating of matrix on the sample. These sprayer/spotters can also be used to deposit enzyme solutions on targeted areas so that differentially-localized proteins can be identified.

This chapter describes some of the recent work in MALDI imaging, as well as some of the clinical applications of this technique. Finally, a new technique is described (MRM MALDI) which allows the quantitation of differentially-localized proteins on the basis of their peptide MS/MS spectra.


Imaging Mass Spectrometry Sinapinic Acid High Mass Accuracy MALDI Matrix Laser Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol E. Parker
    • 1
  • Derek Smith
    • 2
  • Detlev Suckau
    • 2
  • Christoph H. Borchers
    • 3
  1. 1.UNC-Duke Michael Hooker Proteomics CenterChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Bruker Daltonik GmbHBremenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry & MicrobiologyUniversity of Victoria—Genome British Columbia Protein Centre, University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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