Due to the intracellular chemical complexity and a wide range of transmitter concentrations, the detection of the complete set of peptide transmitters in a single cell is problematic. In the current study, a multidisciplinary approach combining single-cell MALDI-MS peptide profiling, northern analysis, in situ hybridization, and immunocytochemistry allows characterization of a more complete set of neurotransmitters than individual approaches in the Aplysia californica B1 and B2 motor neurons. Because different results were obtained using both in situ and immunohistochemical techniques compared to previous reports, MALDI-MS assays have been used to examine CP1-related gene products in these cells. However, MALDI with standard sample preparation does not detect the presence of the CP1 gene products. A novel on-plate microextraction approach using concentrated MALDI matrix 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid with a mixture of acetone and water as the solvent has been developed to allow the detection of trace-level gene expression products. Both neuropeptide precursors in the B1 and B2 neurons - the SCP and CP1 prohormones - end with large peptides that have multiple cysteine residues. For SCP, MALDI-MS verifies the presence of a novel 9325 Da SCP-related peptide. In the case of CP1, a disulfide-bonded homodimer is detected and the disulfide bonding pattern elucidated using MALDI-MS coupled with on-plate enzymatic digestion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry