Ambient Single-Cell Analysis and Native Tissue Imaging Using Laser-Ablation Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry with Increased Spatial Resolution

Laser-ablation electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LAESI-MS) is an emerging method that has the potential to transform the field of metabolomics. This is in part due to LAESI-MS being an ambient ionization method that requires minimal sample preparation and uses (endogenous) water for in situ analysis. This application note details the employment of the “LAESI microscope” source to perform spatially resolved MS analysis of cells and MS imaging (MSI) of tissues at high spatial resolution. This source configuration utilizes a long-working-distance reflective objective that permits both visualization of the sample and a smaller LAESI laser beam profile than conventional LAESI setups. Here, we analyzed 200 single cells of Allium cepa (red onion) and imaged Fittonia argyroneura (nerve plant) in high spatial resolution using this source coupled to a Fourier transform mass spectrometer for high-mass-resolution and high-mass-accuracy metabolomics.

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