Remi Longuespee
Maximilien Fleron
Charles Pottier
Florence Quesada-Calvo
Marie-Alice Meuwis
Dominique Baiwir
Nicolas Smargiasso
Gabriel Mazzucchelli
Marie-Claire De Pauw-Gillet
Philippe Delvenne
Edwin De Pauw

A look at an area that represents a veritable field of research and investment activity for modern biomarker discovery and development.


The concept of tissues appeared more than 200 years ago, since textures and attendant differences were described within the whole organism components. Instrumental developments in optics and biochemistry subsequently paved the way to transition from classical to molecular histology in order to decipher the molecular contexts associated with physiological or pathological development or function of a tissue. In 1941, Coons and colleagues performed the first systematic integrated examination of classical histology and biochemistry when his team localized pneumonia antigens in infected tissue sections. Most recently, in the early 21st century, mass spectrometry (MS) has progressively become one of the most valuable tools to analyze biomolecular compounds. Currently, sampling methods, biochemical procedures, and MS instrumentations allow scientists to perform “in depth” analysis of the protein content of any type of tissue of interest.

This article reviews the salient issues in proteomics analysis of tissues. We first outline technical and analytical considerations for sampling and biochemical processing of tissues and subsequently the instrumental possibilities for proteomics analysis such as shotgun proteomics in an anatomical context. Specific attention concerns formalin fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues that are potential “gold mines” for histopathological investigations. In all, the matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) MS imaging, which allows for differential mapping of hundreds of compounds on a tissue section, is currently the most striking evidence of linkage and transition between “classical” and “molecular” histology. Tissue proteomics represents a veritable field of research and investment activity for modern biomarker discovery and development for the next decade.

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Rémi Longuespée ([email protected]),  Nicolas Smargiasso, Gabriel Mazzucchelli, and Edwin De Pauw are affiliated with the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, GIGA-Research, Department of Chemistry; Maximilien Fléron and Marie-Claire De Pauw-Gille are affiliated with Mammalian Cell Culture Laboratory, GIGA-Research, Department of Biomedical and Preclinical Sciences; Charles Pottier and Philippe Delvenne are affiliated with the Laboratory of Experimental Pathology, GIGA-Cancer, Department of Pathology; Florence Quesada-Calvo and Marie-Alice Meuwis are affiliated with Hepato-Gastroenterology and Digestive Oncology Department, Liège University Hospital; and Dominique Baiwir is affiliated with GIGA-R, GIGA Proteomic Facilities at the University of Liège in Belgium.

OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., integrates global high-throughput and systems approaches to 21st century science from “cell to society”—seen from a post-genomics perspective. The above article was first published in OMICS online ahead of print in August of 2014 with the title “Tissue Proteomics for the Next Decade? Towards a Molecular Dimension in Histology.” The views expressed here are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of OMICS journal, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers, or their affiliates. No endorsement of any entity or technology is implied.

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