High resolution spatial distribution of neuropeptides by MALDI imaging mass spectrometry in the terrestrial snail, Helix pomatia.
Imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) is a powerful technique that combines the chemical and spatial analysis of surface materials. It allows spatial localization of peptides, proteins or lipids that are recorded in parallel without the need of a label. It is currently one of the most rapidly developing techniques in the proteomics toolbox. In the present study, accurate mass matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALD IMS) was used for direct molecular mapping of nervous tissue at micrometer spatial resolution. Cryosections of the whole brain of the terrestrial snail, Helix pomatia, were placed on indium-tin-oxide (ITO)-coated conductive glass slides and covered with a thin layer of α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (CHCA) matrix by electro spray deposition. High-resolution molecular ion maps of well-known neuropeptides, such as FMRFamide were constructed. FMRFamide is known to exert powerful modulatory effect on synaptic transmission in molluscs. FMRFamide was predominantly localized in the cluster of neurons in the pro-, meso- and postcerebral regions of cerebral ganglia, pedal ganglia and right parietal ganglia of the central nervous system. Our present study, using MALDI IMS confirmed the distribution of FMRFamide containing cells in the Helix central nervous system previously detected by antibody dependent immunohistochemistry.