New spatial omics method created
Researchers at Uppsala University, Stockholm University and KTH Royal Institute of Technology have managed to create a new spatial omics method. By combining two complex techniques that are usually used separately – mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) and spatially resolved transcriptomics (SRT) – they have taken an important step in research on biological tissues. The study is published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Peer review/Imaging analysis/Human and animal tissue samples
“Our method can visualise both low-molecular metabolites, such as signaling molecules in the brain, and RNA transcripts – in the same biological tissue section – without compromising on the quality or precision of results. The findings of this study have the potential to significantly advance the field of spatial biology and pathological research,” says Per Andrén, Professor of Mass Spectrometry Imaging at Uppsala University and SciLifeLab and one of the authors of the study.
The method, successfully demonstrated using tissue sections from both mice and human brains, targeted signaling molecules and their role in Parkinson’s disease. By analysing the complex molecular profiles in a single tissue section, researchers can obtain a deeper understandingof Parkinson’s disease and other complex illnesses.
One important aspect of the method is its capability to visualise molecules and their distribution in the tissue while simultaneously analysing gene activity. This methodology enables researchers to explore the connection between gene expression and molecular activity at a higher level.
“The method is applicable beyond neurobiology and could potentially change the landscape in various areas of biological and medical research, for example, oncological research. By studying tumour environments and treatment responses at the molecular level, the method can be a gateway to understanding complex diseases and optimising therapeutic strategies,” Andrén says.
The research has received support from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Brain Foundation, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, EU H2020, EASI-Genomics and SciLifeLab. The researchers belong to the SciLifeLab Spatial Biology platform.
Per Andrén, Professor of Mass Spectrometry Imaging at the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Uppsala University and SciLifeLab, email: email@example.com, telephone: 018-471 72 06, mobile: 070-167 93 34
Joakim Lundeberg, Professor of Molecular Biotechnology at the Division of Gene Technology, KTH and SciLifeLab, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Article: Marco Vicari et al., ‘Spatial multimodal analysis of transcriptomes and metabolomes in tissues’, Nature Biotechnology, 10.1038/s41587-023-01937-y,