Comparative local analysis of metabolites, lipids and proteins in intact fish tissues by LAESI mass spectrometry†
Direct mass spectrometric analysis of animal tissues is an emerging field enabled by recent developments in ambient ion sources. Label-free in situ analysis of metabolites, lipids, and peptides/proteins from intact tissues in whole fish specimens of different gender and age were performed by laser ablation electrospray ionization (LAESI) mass spectrometry (MS). Hypertrophied glandular tissue (gill gland) of adult male Aphyocharax anisitsi (bloodfin tetra) was compared with gill tissues in females of the same species. Comparison of a large number of sample-specific ions was aided by a multivariate statistical method based on orthogonal projections to latent structures discriminant analysis. More than 200 different ions were detected in the mass spectra corresponding to primary metabolites, hormones, lipids and peptides/proteins. The gill tissues of the sexually mature males exhibited multiply charged ions in the 6+ to 10+ charge states corresponding to a protein with a molecular weight of 11 380 Da. This protein was present only in the mature male gill glands but absent in the corresponding area of the female and immature male specimens. An additional nine proteins were detected by LAESI-MS in both the male and female gill tissues.