Multimodal Mass Spectrometry Imaging of N-Glycans and Proteins from the Same Tissue Section

Anal Chem. 2016 Aug 2;88(15):7745-53. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b01739. Epub 2016 Jul 14.


On-tissue digestion matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) can be used to record spatially correlated molecular information from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections. In this work, we present the in situ multimodal analysis of N-linked glycans and proteins from the same FFPE tissue section. The robustness and applicability of the method are demonstrated for several tumors, including epithelial and mesenchymal tumor types. Major analytical aspects, such as lateral diffusion of the analyte molecules and differences in measurement sensitivity due to the additional sample preparation methods, have been investigated for both N-glycans and proteolytic peptides. By combining the MSI approach with extract analysis, we were also able to assess which mass spectral peaks generated by MALDI-MSI could be assigned to unique N-glycan and peptide identities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leiomyosarcoma / metabolism
  • Leiomyosarcoma / pathology
  • Liposarcoma, Myxoid / metabolism
  • Liposarcoma, Myxoid / pathology
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Peptide-N4-(N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminyl) Asparagine Amidase / metabolism
  • Peptides / analysis*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides / analysis*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization*


  • Antigens
  • Glycoproteins
  • Peptides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Peptide-N4-(N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminyl) Asparagine Amidase