Single-cell imaging mass spectrometry

Melissa K. Passarelli, Andrew G. Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Single-cell imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) is a powerful technique used to map the distributions of endogenous biomolecules with subcellular resolution. Currently, secondary ion mass spectrometry is the predominant technique for single-cell IMS, thanks to its submicron lateral resolution and surface sensitivity. However, recent methodological and technological developments aimed at improving the spatial resolution of matrix assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) have made this technique a potential platform of single-cell IMS. MALDI opens the field of single-cell IMS to new possibilities, including single cell proteomic imaging and atmospheric pressure analyses; however, sensitivity is a challenge. In this report, we estimate the availability of proteins and lipids in a single cell and discuss strategies employed to improve sensitivity at the single-cell level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-859
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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