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Mass spectrometry (MS)-based spatially resolved top-down proteomics (TDP) of tissues is crucial for understanding the roles played by microenvironmental heterogeneity in the biological functions of organs and for discovering new proteoform biomarkers of diseases. There are few published spatially resolved TDP studies. One of the challenges relates to the limited performance of TDP for the analysis of spatially isolated samples using, for example, laser capture microdissection (LCM) because those samples are usually mass-limited. We present the first pilot study of LCM-capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE)-MS/MS for spatially resolved TDP and used zebrafish brain as the sample. The LCM-CZE-MS/MS platform employed a non-ionic detergent and a freeze–thaw method for efficient proteoform extraction from LCM isolated brain sections followed by CZE-MS/MS without any sample cleanup step, ensuring high sensitivity. Over 400 proteoforms were identified in a CZE-MS/MS analysis of one LCM brain section via consuming the protein content of roughly 250 cells. We observed drastic differences in proteoform profiles between two LCM brain sections isolated from the optic tectum (Teo) and telencephalon (Tel) regions. Proteoforms of three proteins (npy, penkb, and pyya) having neuropeptide hormone activity were exclusively identified in the isolated Tel section. Proteoforms of reticulon, myosin, and troponin were almost exclusively identified in the isolated Teo section, and those proteins play essential roles in visual and motor activities. The proteoform profiles accurately reflected the main biological functions of the Teo and Tel regions of the brain. Additionally, hundreds of post-translationally modified proteoforms were identified.more » « less
Multilevel proteomics aims to delineate proteins at the peptide (bottom-up proteomics), proteoform (top-down proteomics), and protein complex (native proteomics) levels. Capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) can achieve highly efficient separation and highly sensitive detection of complex mixtures of peptides, proteoforms, and even protein complexes because of its substantial technical progress. CE-MS has become a valuable alternative to the routinely used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for multilevel proteomics. This review summarizes the most recent (2019-2021) advances of CE-MS for multilevel proteomics regarding technological progress and biological applications. We also provide brief perspectives on CE-MS for multilevel proteomics at the end, highlighting some future directions and potential challenges.more » « less