Proteome-scale tissue mapping using mass spectrometry based on label-free and multiplexed workflows

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Jul 10:2024.03.04.583367. doi: 10.1101/2024.03.04.583367.


Multiplexed bimolecular profiling of tissue microenvironment, or spatial omics, can provide deep insight into cellular compositions and interactions in healthy and diseased tissues. Proteome-scale tissue mapping, which aims to unbiasedly visualize all the proteins in a whole tissue section or region of interest, has attracted significant interest because it holds great potential to directly reveal diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets. While many approaches are available, however, proteome mapping still exhibits significant technical challenges in both protein coverage and analytical throughput. Since many of these existing challenges are associated with mass spectrometry-based protein identification and quantification, we performed a detailed benchmarking study of three protein quantification methods for spatial proteome mapping, including label-free, TMT-MS2, and TMT-MS3. Our study indicates label-free method provided the deepest coverages of ∼3500 proteins at a spatial resolution of 50 µm and the highest quantification dynamic range, while TMT-MS2 method holds great benefit in mapping throughput at >125 pixels per day. The evaluation also indicates both label-free and TMT-MS2 provide robust protein quantifications in identifying differentially abundant proteins and spatially co-variable clusters. In the study of pancreatic islet microenvironment, we demonstrated deep proteome mapping not only enables the identification of protein markers specific to different cell types, but more importantly, it also reveals unknown or hidden protein patterns by spatial co-expression analysis.

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