Fast Lysis Cell Traps
Background: Chemical cytometry involves the use of high-sensitivity analytical tools, such as mass spectrometry, electrochemistry and capillary or microfluidic separation methods to characterize single cells. In order to accomplish this analysis, it is desirable to selectively apply cells to predetermined regions of a substrate, also know as cell patterning. Chemical cytometry employing an electrophoretic separation has been used to measure a wide range of cellular properties; for example, quantifying proteins, enumerating mitochondrial properties, identifying carbohydrate synthesizing enzymes and detecting kinase activation in a single cell. Such electrophoretic separation is typically accomplished with the use of capillaries. However, a major weakness of capillary-based analysis of single cells is its low throughput, typically less than twenty cells per day. Technology: Researchers at the University of California have developed a method for the patterning and fast lysis of cells. The ability to both pattern and lyse cells on demand has many applications in chemical cytometry. For example, the ability to pattern multiple cell traps per electrode would allow for the rapid lysis of multiple single cells on demand, thus permitting the multiplexing of single cell analysis.
The fast lysis of cells in the present invention can be accomplished by both (1) high electrical fields in the supra electroporation region as well as (2) gas induced mechanical lysis (GIML) or by the independent use of each. An advantage of the present invention is that the gas formed during the lysis event is captured in the cell trap and not capable of obstructing a microchannel leading to electrophoretic failure in both microfluidic and capillary-based electrophoresis. Application: The full integration and automation of the cell lysis with electrophoretic separation might permit the high speed analysis of arrays of single adherent cells.
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