3 years ago

Hydroxyl-Group-Dominated Graphite Dots Reshape Laser Desorption/Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Small Biomolecular Analysis and Imaging

Hydroxyl-Group-Dominated Graphite Dots Reshape Laser Desorption/Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Small Biomolecular Analysis and Imaging
Yeshayahu Lifshitz, Yong Wang, Fang Lu, Enhui Wu, Hao Li, Xing Dai, Weifeng Li, Yang Liu, Ruhong Zhou, Qiongyang Chen, Rui Shi, Shuit-Tong Lee, Jian Liu, Huihua Qu, Zhenhui Kang, He Tian
Small molecules play critical roles in life science, yet their facile detection and imaging in physiological or pathological settings remain a challenge. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI MS) is a powerful tool for molecular analysis. However, conventional organic matrices (CHCA, DHB, etc.) used in assisting analyte ionization suffer from intensive background noise in the mass region below m/z 700, which hinders MALDI MS applications for small-molecule detection. Here, we report that a hydroxyl-group-dominated graphite dot (GD) matrix overcomes limitations of conventional matrices and allows MALDI MS to be used in fast and high-throughput analysis of small biomolecules. GDs exhibit extremely low background noise and ultrahigh sensitivity (with limit of detection <1 fmol) in MALDI MS. This approach allows identification of complex oligosaccharides, detection of low-molecular-weight components in traditional Chinese herbs, and facile analysis of puerarin and its metabolites in serum without purification. Moreover, we show that the GDs provide an effective matrix for the direct imaging or spatiotemporal mapping of small molecules and their metabolites (m/z < 700) simultaneously at the suborgan tissue level. Density functional theory calculations further provide the mechanistic basis of GDs as an effective MALDI matrix in both the positive-ion and negative-ion modes. Collectively, our work uncovered a useful matrix which reshapes MALDI MS technology for a wide range of applications in biology and medicine.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.7b05328

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b05328

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