Innovative method provides unique insights into the structure of cells and tissues

phys.org | 10/24/2018 | Staff
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Cells are the basic building blocks of life—and, as such, they have been the object of intense study since the invention of the optical microscope in the 17th century. The development of mass spectrometry (MS) methods—those which define the chemical composition of cells—represent a further milestone for research in the field of cell biology. In the latest issue of the journal Nature Methods, the working group headed by Prof. Klaus Dreisewerd and Dr. Jens Soltwisch from the Institute of Hygiene at the University of Münster present a method which has improved the spatial resolution of MALDI mass spectrometry by around one-thousandth of a millimetre.

MALDI stands for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation. What's so special about the technology which the researchers have named t-MALDI-2 (with 't' standing for transmission mode) is the use of two specially adapted lasers: one of them generates a particularly small focus on the material removed, while the other produces the necessary signal enhancement for many biomolecules by up to several magnitudes—for example, for fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D, cholesterol or administered medication. Information on their precise distribution in cells and tissues can, among other things, help to produce a better understanding of disease and inflammation processes and show new strategies for treating them.

Improvement - Method - Offers - Comparison - MALDI

"The decisive improvement which our method offers, in comparison with established MALDI imaging methods, is based on the combination and extension of two technical methods previously in use," explains Dr. Marcel Niehaus, one of the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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