Millions of diverse molecules constituting the lipidome act as important signals within cells. Of these, cardiolipin (CL) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) participate in apoptosis and ferroptosis, respectively. Their subcellular distribution is largely unknown. Imaging mass spectrometry is capable of deciphering the spatial distribution of multiple lipids at subcellular levels. Here we report the development of a unique 70 keV gas-cluster ion beam that consists of (CO 2 ) n + (n>10 000) projectiles. Coupled with direct current beam buncher-time-of-flight secondary-ion mass spectrometry, it is optimized for sensitivity towards high-mass species (up to m/z 3000) at high spatial resolution (1 μm). In combination with immunohistochemistry, phospholipids, including PE and CL, have been assessed in subcellular compartments of mouse hippocampal neuronal cells and rat brain tissue.
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