Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization: a new, enabling technology for rapid and direct identification, characterization, and imaging of biomolecules by mass spectrometry
LAESI Mass Spectrometry (or LAESI-MS) is a breakthrough technology to identify metabolites, lipids, peptides, proteins, and other biomolecules directly and rapidly from cells, tissues, biofluids, and any other aqueous sample. LAESI was invented and developed in the laboratory of Dr. Akos Vertes, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Founder and Co-Director of the W.M. Keck Institute for Proteomics Technology and Applications, in the Department of Chemistry at The George Washington University, Washington D.C. LAESI-MS data has been published in several peer-reviewed journals, including three cover articles, and it has been presented with acclaim at major international conferences.
In LAESI-MS, biological tissues and aqueous samples are readily analyzed using a mid-infrared laser (2940 nm). This wavelength corresponds to the frequency of the O-H bond vibrations in water and results in the strong absorption of this wavelength by the water. Gas phase particles are created from the ablation of the sample due to this absorption of the mid–IR energy. These particles are then ionized through interactions with an electrospray ionization (ESI) plume located above the sample at ambient pressure. After interaction with the ESI plume, the ions are then sampled and analyzed by the mass spectrometer.
2D LAESI of Sample:
An extremely rapid and sensitive technique, LAESI-MS provides both qualitative and quantitative data for 2D and 3D tissue imaging workflows. LAESI-MS allows the direct identification of biomolecules in biological samples with minimal pretreatment and minimal destruction of the source sample. Each local analysis (pixel) requires only seconds for data acquisition, which permits the characterization of cells and tissues both spatially and temporally. Mass spectral imaging enables biomolecular characterization and fingerprinting of tissue, speciation studies, and stimulus-response analyses.
Additionally, LAESI-MS is ideally suited for the rapid, sensitive, and direct analysis of biofluids and other aqueous samples that contain peptides, proteins, metabolites, and other biomarkers for clinical, diagnostic, and discovery workflows. High throughput analysis of these samples in 96- and 384-well microplates is enabled using LAESI-MS, and the use of internal standards permits absolute quantitation of targeted biomolecules. LAESI profiling of these analytes in biofluids represents a robust method for the identification of disease biomarkers and molecular pathology.
LAESI-MS supports a broad range of applications in the fields of pharmaceutical and biological research, surgical and molecular pathology, clinical diagnostics, chemical and biological defense, forensics, agriculture, food process monitoring, and many others.
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