N-glycan MALDI imaging mass spectrometry on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue enables the delineation of ovarian cancer tissues
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Ovarian cancer is a fatal gynaecological malignancy in adult women with a five-year overall survival rate of only 30%. Glycomic and glycoproteomic profiling studies have reported extensive protein glycosylation pattern alterations in ovarian cancer. Therefore, spatio-temporal investigation of these glycosylation changes may unearth tissue-specific changes that occur in the development and progression of ovarian cancer. A novel method for investigating tissue-specific N-linked glycans is using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections that can spatially profile N-glycan compositions released from proteins in tissue-specific regions. In this study, tissue regions of interest (e.g. tumor, stroma, adipose tissue and necrotic areas) were isolated from FFPE tissue sections of advanced serous ovarian cancers (n = 3). PGC-LC-ESI-MS/MS and MALDI-MSI were used as complementary techniques to firstly generate structural information on the tissue-specific glycans in order to then obtain high resolution images of the glycan structure distribution in ovarian cancer tissue. The N-linked glycan repertoires carried by the proteins in these tissue regions were structurally characterized for the first time in FFPE ovarian cancer tissue regions, using enzymatic peptide-N-glycosidase F (PNGase F) release of N-glycans. The released glycans were analyzed by porous graphitized carbon liquid chromatography (PGC-LC) and collision induced electrospray negative mode MS fragmentation analysis. The N-glycan profiles identified by this analysis were then used to determine the location and distribution of each N-glycan on FFPE ovarian cancer sections that were treated with PNGase F using high resolution MALDI-MSI. A tissue-specific distribution of N-glycan structures identified particular regions of the ovarian cancer sections. For example, high mannose glycans were predominantly expressed in the tumor tissue region whereas complex/hybrid N-glycans were significantly abundant in the intervening stroma. Therefore, tumor and non-tumor tissue regions were clearly demarcated solely on their N-glycan structure distributions.
Molecular and Cellular Proteomics
This research was originally published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics (MCP). Everest-Dass et al, N-glycan MALDI imaging mass spectrometry on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue enables the delineation of ovarian cancer tissues, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics (MCP) 2016; 15: 3003-3016. Copyright the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitve version.
Biochemistry and Cell Biology not elsewhere classified