Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Arabidopsis thaliana Leaves at the Single-Cell Level by Infrared Laser Ablation Atmospheric Pressure Photoionization (LAAPPI)

In this study, we show that infrared laser ablation atmospheric pressure photoionization mass spectrometry (LAAPPI-MS) imaging with 70 μm lateral resolution allows for the analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana) leaf substructures ranging from single-cell trichomes and the interveinal leaf lamina to primary, secondary, and tertiary veins. The method also showed its potential for depth profiling analysis for the first time by mapping analytes at the different depths of the leaf and spatially resolving the topmost trichomes and cuticular wax layer from the underlying tissues. Negative ion LAAPPI-MS detected many different flavonol glycosides, fatty acids, fatty acid esters, galactolipids, and glycosphingolipids, whose distributions varied significantly between the different substructures of A. thaliana leaves. The results show that LAAPPI-MS provides a highly promising new tool to study the role of metabolites in plants.

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