5 years ago

Plasmonic Thermal Decomposition/Digestion of Proteins: A Rapid On-Surface Protein Digestion Technique for Mass Spectrometry Imaging

Plasmonic Thermal Decomposition/Digestion of Proteins: A Rapid On-Surface Protein Digestion Technique for Mass Spectrometry Imaging
Franco Basile, Rong Zhou
A method based on plasmon surface resonance absorption and heating was developed to perform a rapid on-surface protein thermal decomposition and digestion suitable for imaging mass spectrometry (MS) and/or profiling. This photothermal process or plasmonic thermal decomposition/digestion (plasmonic-TDD) method incorporates a continuous wave (CW) laser excitation and gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) to induce known thermal decomposition reactions that cleave peptides and proteins specifically at the C-terminus of aspartic acid and at the N-terminus of cysteine. These thermal decomposition reactions are induced by heating a solid protein sample to temperatures between 200 and 270 °C for a short period of time (10–50 s per 200 μm segment) and are reagentless and solventless, and thus are devoid of sample product delocalization. In the plasmonic-TDD setup the sample is coated with Au-NPs and irradiated with 532 nm laser radiation to induce thermoplasmonic heating and bring about site-specific thermal decomposition on solid peptide/protein samples. In this manner the Au-NPs act as nanoheaters that result in a highly localized thermal decomposition and digestion of the protein sample that is independent of the absorption properties of the protein, making the method universally applicable to all types of proteinaceous samples (e.g., tissues or protein arrays). Several experimental variables were optimized to maximize product yield, and they include heating time, laser intensity, size of Au-NPs, and surface coverage of Au-NPs. Using optimized parameters, proof-of-principle experiments confirmed the ability of the plasmonic-TDD method to induce both C-cleavage and D-cleavage on several peptide standards and the protein lysozyme by detecting their thermal decomposition products with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). The high spatial specificity of the plasmonic-TDD method was demonstrated by using a mask to digest designated sections of the sample surface with the heating laser and MALDI-MS imaging to map the resulting products. The solventless nature of the plasmonic-TDD method enabled the nonenzymatic on-surface digestion of proteins to proceed with undetectable delocalization of the resulting products from their precursor protein location. The advantages of this novel plasmonic-TDD method include short reaction times (<30 s/200 μm), compatibility with MALDI, universal sample compatibility, high spatial specificity, and localization of the digestion products. These advantages point to potential applications of this method for on-tissue protein digestion and MS-imaging/profiling for the identification of proteins, high-fidelity MS imaging of high molecular weight (>30 kDa) proteins, and the rapid analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.7b00430

DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b00430

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