Natural Sciences
Life Sciences
Scientific Computing
Life Science

Professor Ian S. Gilmore, National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging, NPL, Teddington, UK

DKFZ, H824, Glaskasten, 8th floor, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280

Hermann-Josef Gröne, Roger Sandhoff; DKFZ

Super-resolution optical microscopy using fluorescent labels has been transformational in allowing the machinery of life, e.g. proteins, to be seen at the nanoscale. There is a great desire in the life-sciences to achieve this level of insight for metabolites, the molecular products and messengers involved in metabolism. This will allow unprecedented ability to understand rewiring of metabolic networks involved in disease, understanding of the uptake of drugs in cells and construct mechanistic understanding in fundamental biology. However, this is a monumental challenge since fluorescent labelling strategies cannot be used because of the dynamic processes in the creation of metabolites and because the fluorescent labels themselves radically alter the chemistry of the metabolite. Mass spectrometry allows label-free (or with stable isotope labelling) identification of endogenous and exogenous (e.g drugs) metabolites and when combined with high-resolution ion beams in secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) allows sub-cellular resolution imaging. Substantial barriers need to be overcome to achieve a super-resolution goal.

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