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Automated annotation and visualisation of high-resolution spatial proteomic mass spectrometry imaging data using HIT-MAP


Guo GG , Papanicolaou MM , Demarais NJN J , Wang ZZ , Schey KLK L , Timpson PP , Cox TRT R , Grey ACA C . Nature communications. 2021 5 28; 12(1). 3241


Spatial proteomics has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of biology, physiology and medicine. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) is a powerful tool in the spatial proteomics field, enabling direct detection and registration of protein abundance and distribution across tissues. MALDI-MSI preserves spatial distribution and histology allowing unbiased analysis of complex, heterogeneous tissues. However, MALDI-MSI faces the challenge of simultaneous peptide quantification and identification. To overcome this, we develop and validate HIT-MAP (High-resolution Informatics Toolbox in MALDI-MSI Proteomics), an open-source bioinformatics workflow using peptide mass fingerprint analysis and a dual scoring system to computationally assign peptide and protein annotations to high mass resolution MSI datasets and generate customisable spatial distribution maps. HIT-MAP will be a valuable resource for the spatial proteomics community for analysing newly generated and retrospective datasets, enabling robust peptide and protein annotation and visualisation in a wide array of normal and disease contexts.