High-Throughput Label-Free Biochemical Assays Using Infrared Matrix-Assisted Desorption Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry

Anal Chem. 2021 May 4;93(17):6792-6800. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.1c00737. Epub 2021 Apr 22.


Mass spectrometry (MS) can provide high sensitivity and specificity for biochemical assays without the requirement of labels, eliminating the risk of assay interference. However, its use had been limited to lower-throughput assays due to the need for chromatography to overcome ion suppression from the sample matrix. Direct analysis without chromatography has the potential for high throughput if sensitivity is sufficient despite the presence of a matrix. Here, we report and demonstrate a novel direct analysis high-throughput MS system based on infrared matrix-assisted desorption electrospray ionization (IR-MALDESI) that has a potential acquisition rate of 33 spectra/s. We show the development of biochemical assays in standard buffers for wild-type isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1), diacylglycerol kinase zeta (DGKζ), and p300 histone acetyltransferase (P300) to demonstrate the suitability of this system for a broad range of high-throughput lead discovery assays. A proof-of-concept pilot screen of ∼3k compounds is also shown for IDH1 and compared to a previously reported fluorescence-based assay. We were able to obtain reliable data at a speed amenable for high-throughput screening of large-scale compound libraries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization