MALDI-IHC-Guided In-Depth Spatial Proteomics: Targeted and Untargeted MSI Combined

B.S.R. Claes, K.K. Krestensen, G. Yagnik, A. Grgic, C. Kuik, M.J. Lim, K.J. Rothschild, M. Vandenbosch, R.M.A. Heeren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recently, a novel technology was published, utilizing the strengths of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) and immunohistochemistry (IHC), achieving highly multiplexed, targeted imaging of biomolecules in tissue. This new technique, called MALDIIHC, opened up workflows to target molecules of interest using MALDI-MSI that are usually targeted by standard IHC. In this paper, the utility of targeted MALDIIHC and its complementarity with untargeted on-tissue bottom-up spatial proteomics is explored using breast cancer tissue. Furthermore, the MALDI-2 effect was investigated and demonstrated to improve MALDI-IHC. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) human breast cancer tissue sections were stained for multiplex MALDI-IHC with six photocleavable mass-tagged (PC-MT) antibodies constituting a breast cancer antibody panel (CD20, actin-alpha SM, HER2, CD68, vimentin, and panCK). K-means spatial clusters were created based on the MALDI-IHC images and cut out using laser-capture microdissection (LMD) for further untargeted LC-MS-based bottom-up proteomics analyses. Numerous peptides could be tentatively assigned to multiple proteins, of which three proteins were also part of the antibody panel (vimentin, keratins, and actin). Post-ionization with MALDI-2 showed an increased intensity of the PC-MTs and suggests options for the development of new mass-tags. Although the on-tissue digestion covered a wider range of proteins, the MALDI-IHC allowed for easy and straightforward identification of proteins that were not detected in untargeted approaches. The combination of the multiplexed MALDI-IHC with image-guided proteomics showed great potential to further investigate diseases by providing complementary information from the same tissue section and without the need for customized instrumentation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2329–2338
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number4
Early online date1 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2023


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