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New Derivatization Reagent for Detection of free Thiol-groups in Metabolites and Proteins in Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Mass Spectrometry Imaging

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journal contribution
posted on 20.04.2020, 16:33 by Annabelle Fülöp, Tobias Bausbacher, Stefano Rizzo, Qiuqin Zhou, Hartmut Gillandt, Carsten Hopf, Miriam Rittner
Several diseases are associated with disturbed redox signaling and altered metabolism of sulfur-containing metabolites and proteins. Importantly, oxidative degradation of fresh-frozen tissues begins within the normal time scale of MALDI MSI sample preparation. As a result, analytical methods that preserve the redox state of the tissue are urgently needed for refined studies of the underlying mechanisms. Nevertheless, no derivatization strategy for free sulfhydryl groups in tissue is known for MALDI MSI. Here, we report the first derivatization reagent, (E)-2-cyano-N-(2-(2,5-dioxo-2,5-dihydro-1H-pyrrol-1-yl)­ethyl)-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)­acrylamide (CHC-Mal), for selective detection of free thiols using MALDI MSI. We performed in situ derivatization of free thiol groups from thiol-containing metabolites such as glutathione and cysteine and reduced proteins such as insulin and imaged their spatial distribution in porcine and mouse xenograft tissue. Derivatization of thiol-containing metabolites with CHC-Mal for MALDI MSI was also possible when using aged tissue in the presence of excess reducing agents. Importantly, CHC-Mal-derivatized low mass-metabolites could be detected without the use of a conventional MALDI matrix.