Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Single-Cell Transfection Tool Enables Added Control for Biological Studies

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Northwestern University researchers have developed a new method for delivering molecules into single, targeted cells through temporary holes in the cell surface.

The technique could find applications in drug delivery, cell therapy, and related biological fields.
Bulk electroporation — a technique used to deliver molecules into cells through reversible nanopores in the cell membrane that are caused by exposing them to electric pulses — is an increasingly popular method of cell transfection. (Cell transfection is the introduction of molecules, such as nucleic acids or proteins, into a cell to change its properties.)

However, because bulk electroporation applies electric pulses to a bulk cell solution, it results in heterogeneous cell populations and often low cell viability. To solve these problems, Northwestern University researchers have developed a novel tool for single-cell transfection.

The new method, called nanofountain probe electroporation (NFP-E), allows researchers to deliver molecules into targeted cells through temporary nanopores in the cell membrane created by a localized electric field applied to a small portion of the cell. The method enables researchers to control dosage by varying the duration of the electric pulses, which provides unprecedented control of cell transfection.

“This is really exciting,” said Horacio Espinosa, James and Nancy Farley Professor of Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and one of the paper’s authors. “The ability to precisely deliver molecules into single cells is needed for biotechnology researchers to advance the state-of-the-art in therapeutics, diagnostics, and drug delivery toward the promise of personalized medicine.”

A paper describing the research, “Nanofountain Probe Electroporation (NFP-E) of Single Cells,” was published May 7 in the journal Nano Letters.

NFP-E is based on nanofountain probe (NFP) technology developed in Espinosa’s lab. The NFP-E chip consists of an array of microfabricated cantilever probes with integrated microfluidic channels. The probe has previously been used for high-speed nanopatterning of proteins and nanoparticles for drug delivery studies.

The new single-cell transfection application couples the probe with an electrode and fluid control system that can be easily connected to a micromanipulator or atomic force microscope for position control. This integrated system allows the entire transfection process and post-transfection cell response to be monitored by an optical microscope.

The NFP-E system is being developed for commercialization by iNfinitesimal LLC, a Northwestern spin-off company founded by Espinosa, and is expected to be available in late 2013.

The technique is proving to be extremely robust and multi-functional. Researchers have used the NFP-E chip to transfect HeLa cells with polysaccharides, proteins, DNA hairpins, and plasmid DNA with single-cell selectivity, high transfection efficiency (up to 95%), qualitative dosage control, and very high viability (up to 92%).

In addition to Espinosa, authors of the research paper include Wonmo Kang, Fazel Yavari, Majid Minary-Jolandan, Juan P. Giraldo-Vela, Asmahan Safi, Rebecca McNaughton, and Victor Parpoil. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,100+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Understanding Female HIV Transmission
Glowing virus maps points of entry through entire female reproductive tract for first time.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Nanoparticle Acts Like Trojan Horse To Halt Asthma
New technology also can be used to turn off peanut and other food allergies
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Investigating Kidney Cancer Therapies
Two drugs known to improve survival for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma do not reduce the risk of cancer recurrence when administered after surgery.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
New Predictor of Cancer
When your biological age is older than your chronological age, the risk of getting and dying of cancer rises
Friday, February 19, 2016
Where Cancer Cells May Begin
Scientists use fruit fly genetics to understand how things could go wrong in cancer.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Tracking How Herpes Simplex Virus Moves Through Cells
In a recent study, Derek Walsh, PhD, associate professor of Microbiology-Immunology, and his team showed how the herpes simplex virus (HSV) exploits microtubule plus-end tracking proteins to initiate transport and infection in human cells.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Circadian Clock Controls Insulin and Blood Sugar in Pancreas
Map of thousands of genes suggests new therapeutic targets for diabetes.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Low Dose Beta-Blockers As Effective As High Dose After a Heart Attack?
Heart attack patients live as long – or even longer – on one-quarter the suggested dose.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Network Control: Letting Noise Lead The Way
Research team leverage cells' noisy nature to keep them healthy.
Monday, September 21, 2015
New Protein Manufacturing Process Unveiled
Scientists now have a way to study special proteins associated with disease.
Monday, September 14, 2015
Protein Found to Control Inflammatory Response
A new Northwestern Medicine study shows that a protein called POP1 prevents severe inflammation and, potentially, diseases caused by excessive inflammatory responses.
Monday, August 24, 2015
Data Mining DNA For Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Genes
A new Northwestern Medicine genome-wide association study of PCOS – the first of its kind to focus on women of European ancestry – has provided important new insights into the underlying biology of the disorder.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Scientists Find What Controls Waking Up and Going to Sleep
Simple two-cycle mechanism turns key brain neurons on or off during 24-hour day.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Uncovering Genetic Factors in Leukemia
Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered how a gene linked to leukemia functions, a finding that may have important implications for children with Down syndrome who have a higher risk of developing the blood cancer.
Thursday, August 06, 2015
New Tool For Investigating RNA Gone Awry
A new technology – called “Sticky-flares” – developed by nanomedicine experts at Northwestern University offers the first real-time method to track and observe the dynamics of RNA distribution as it is transported inside living cells.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Scientific News
The Rise of 3D Cell Culture and in vitro Model Systems for Drug Discovery and Toxicology
An overview of the current technology and the challenges and benefits over 2D cell culture models plus some of the latest advances relating to human health research.
New NIH-EPA Research Centers to Study Environmental Health Disparities
Scientists will partner with community organizations to study these concerns and develop culturally appropriate ways to reduce exposure to harmful environmental conditions.
Structure of Essential Digestive Enzyme Uncovered
Using a powerful combination of techniques from biophysics to mathematics, researchers have revealed new insights into the mechanism of a liver enzyme that is critical for human health.
Air Pollution Linked to Heart Disease
10-year project revealed air pollutants accelerate plaque build-up in arteries to the heart.
Getting a Better Look at How HIV Infects and Takes Over its Host Cells
A new approach, developed by a team of researchers led by The Rockefeller University and The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC), offers an unprecedented view of how a virus infects and appropriates a host cell, step by step.
Following Tricky Triclosan
Antibacterial product flows through streams, crops.
Vitamin A May Help Improve Pancreatic Cancer Chemotherapy
The addition of high doses of a form of vitamin A could help make chemotherapy more successful in treating pancreatic cancer, according to an early study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
Poverty Marks a Gene, Predicting Depression
New study of high-risk teens reveals a biological pathway for depression.
World’s Largest Coral Gene Database
‘Genetic toolkit’ will help shed light on which species survive climate change.
A Boost for Regenerative Medicine
Growing tissues and organs in the lab for transplantation into patients could become easier after scientists discovered an effective way to produce three-dimensional networks of blood vessels, vital for tissue survival yet a current stumbling block in regenerative medicine.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,100+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!