Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) is a soft ionization technique used in mass spectrometry, allowing the analysis of biomolecules (biopolymers such as proteins, peptides and sugars) and large organic molecules (such as polymers, dendrimers and other macromolecules), which tend to be fragile and fragment when ionized by more conventional ionization methods. It is most similar in character to electrospray ionization both in relative softness and the ions produced (although it causes many fewer multiply charged ions).

The ionization is triggered by a laser beam (normally a nitrogen laser). A matrix is used to protect the biomolecule from being destroyed by direct laser beam and to facilitate vaporization and ionization.

Mass Spectometry
The type of a mass spectrometer most widely used with MALDI is the TOF (time-of-flight mass spectrometer), mainly due to its large mass range. The TOF measurement procedure is also ideally suited to the MALDI ionization process since the pulsed laser takes individual 'shots' rather than working in continuous operation. MALDI-TOF instruments are typically equipped with an "ion mirror", deflecting ions with an electric field, thereby doubling the ion flight path and increasing the resolution. Today, commercial reflectron TOF instruments reach a resolving power m/Δm of well above 20'000 FWHM (full-width half-maximum, Δm defined as the peak width at 50% of peak height).

MALDI has been coupled with IMS-TOF MS to identify phoshorylated and non-phosphorylated peptides .

MALDI-FT-ICR MS has been demonstrated to be a useful technique where high resolution MALDI-MS measurements are desired

In proteomics, MALDI is used for the identification of proteins isolated through gel electrophoresis: SDS-PAGE, size exclusion chromatography, and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. One method used is peptide mass fingerprinting by MALDI-MS, or with post ionisation decay or collision-induced dissociation (further use see mass spectrometry).

Loss of sialic acid has been identified in papers when DHB has been used as a matrix for MALDI MS analysis of glycosylated peptides. Using sinapinic acid, 4-HCCA and DHB as matrices, Dr. Martin studied loss of sialic acid in glycosylated peptides by metastable decay in MALDI/TOF in linear mode and reflector mode . A group at SHIMIZU CORPORATION proposed derivitizing the sialic acid by an amidation reaction as a way to improve results  and also proposed use of an Ionic liquid matrix to reduce loss of sialic acid during MALDI/TOF MS analysis of sialylated oligosaccharides . THAP , DHAP , and a mixture of 2-aza-2-thiothymine and phenylhydrazine have been identified as matrices that could be used to minimize loss of sialic acid during MALDI MS analysis of glycosylated peptides.

It has been reported that a reduction in loss of some post-translational modifications can be accomplished if IR MALDI is used instead of UV MALDI


The serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) receptors are a group of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and ligand-gated ion channels (LGICs) found in the central and peripheral nervous system. They mediate both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission. The serotonin receptors are activated by the neurotransmitter serotonin, which acts as their endogenous ligand. The serotonin receptors modulate the release of many neurotransmitters, including glutamate, GABA, dopamine, epinephrine/norepinephrine, and acetylcholine, as well as many hormones, including oxytocin, prolactin, vasopressin, cortisol, corticosterone, corticotropin, and substance P, among others. The serotonin receptors influence various biological and neurological processes such as aggression, anxiety, appetite, cognition, learning, memory, mood, nausea, sleep, and thermoregulation. The serotonin receptors are the target of a variety of pharmaceutical and illicit drugs, including many antidepressants, antipsychotics, anorectics, antiemetics, gastroprokinetic agents, antimigraine agents, hallucinogens, and entactogens.


Noradrenaline Animation

Noradrenaline (BAN) (abbreviated NA or NAd) or norepinephrine (INN) (abbreviated norepi or NE) is a catecholamine with dual roles as a hormone and a neurotransmitter.
As a stress hormone, norepinephrine affects parts of the brain where attention and responding actions are controlled. Along with epinephrine, norepinephrine also underlies the fight-or-flight response, directly increasing heart rate, triggering the release of glucose from energy stores, and increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle.

However, when norepinephrine acts as a drug it will increase blood pressure by its prominent increasing effects on the vascular tone from α-adrenergic receptor activation. The resulting increase in vascular resistance triggers a compensatory reflex that overcomes its direct stimulatory effects on the heart, called the baroreceptor reflex, which results in a drop in heart rate called reflex bradycardia.

Norepinephrine is synthesized from tyrosine as a precursor, and packed into synaptic vesicles. It performs its action by being released into the synaptic cleft, where it acts on adrenergic receptors, followed by the signal termination, either by degradation of norepinephrine, or by uptake by surrounding cells.

Norepinephrine is synthesized by a series of enzymatic steps in the adrenal medulla and postganglionic neurons of the sympathetic nervous system from the amino acid tyrosine:

The first reaction is the hydroxylation into dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) (DOPA = 3,4-DiHydroxy-L-Phenylalanine), catalyzed by tyrosine hydroxylase. This is the rate-limiting step.

This is followed by decarboxylation into the neurotransmitter dopamine, catalyzed by pyridoxal phosphate & DOPA decarboxylase.

Last is the final β-oxidation into norepinephrine by dopamine beta hydroxylase, requiring ascorbate as a cofactor (electron donor).
Norepinephrine. (2009, December 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:38, December 16, 2009, from

How SSRIs and MAO Inhibitors Work Animation

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) are a class of compounds typically used as antidepressants in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, and some personality disorders. They are also typically effective and used in treating premature ejaculation problems as well as some cases of insomnia.

SSRIs increase the extracellular level of the neurotransmitter serotonin by inhibiting its reuptake into the presynaptic cell, increasing the level of serotonin available to bind to the postsynaptic receptor. They have varying degrees of selectivity for the other monoamine transporters, with pure SSRIs having only weak affinity for the noradrenaline and dopamine transporter.

Mode of action
SSRIs are believed to act by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin after being released in synapses. How much an individual will respond to this, however, also depends on genetics. In addition, several other mechanisms are suggested for the desired effect, e.g. neuroprotection and anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory factors. Taken together, SSRI has several advantages compared with tricyclic antidepressants (TCA)s and 5-HT-prodrugs. However, the latter might be required in addition to SSRIs in certain situations.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are a class of powerful antidepressant drugs prescribed for the treatment of depression. They are particularly effective in treating atypical depression, and have also shown efficacy in smoking cessation.

Due to potentially lethal dietary and drug interactions, MAOIs had been reserved as a last line of defense, used only when other classes of antidepressant drugs (for example selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants) have failed. Recently, however, a patch form of the drug selegiline, called Emsam, was developed. It was approved for use by the FDA on February 28, 2006. When applied transdermally the drug does not enter the gastro-intestinal system as it does when taken orally, thereby decreasing the dangers of dietary interactions associated with MAOI pills.


Bioenergetics is the subject of a field of biochemistry that concerns energy flow through living systems. This is an active area of biological research that includes the study of thousands of different cellular processes such as cellular respiration and the many other metabolic processes that can lead to production and utilization of energy in forms such as ATP molecules.