Design and Performance of a Novel Interface for Combined Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization at Elevated Pressure and Electrospray Ionization with Orbitrap Mass Spectrometry

Anal Chem. 2017 Jul 18;89(14):7493-7501. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b01168. Epub 2017 Jun 28.

Abstract

Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization, MALDI, has been increasingly used in a variety of biomedical applications, including tissue imaging of clinical tissue samples, and in drug discovery and development. These studies strongly depend on the performance of the analytical instrumentation and would drastically benefit from improved sensitivity, reproducibility, and mass/spatial resolution. In this work, we report on a novel combined MALDI/ESI interface, which was coupled to different Orbitrap mass spectrometers (Elite and Q Exactive Plus) and extensively characterized with peptide and protein standards, and in tissue imaging experiments. In our approach, MALDI is performed in the elevated pressure regime (5-8 Torr) at a spatial resolution of 15-30 μm, while ESI-generated ions are injected orthogonally to the interface axis. We have found that introduction of the MALDI-generated ions into an electrodynamic dual-funnel interface results in increased sensitivity characterized by a limit of detection of ∼400 zmol, while providing a mass measurement accuracy of 1 ppm and a mass resolving power of 120 000 in analysis of protein digests. In tissue imaging experiments, the MALDI/ESI interface has been employed in experiments with rat brain sections and was shown to be capable of visualizing and spatially characterizing very low abundance analytes separated only by 20 mDa. Comparison of imaging data has revealed excellent agreement between the MALDI and histological images.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't