Poster Presentation 2014 International Biophysics Congress

Smart Droplet Microtools: An optically controlled platform for single-cell sampling and payload delivery (#368)

Duncan Casey 1 , Douglas Wylie 1 , Angelika Schrems 2 , John Phillips 1 , Uwe B. Sleytr 2 , Bernhard Schuster 2 , Mark A.A. Neil 1 , David R. Klug 1 , Oscar Ces 1
  1. Institute of Chemical Biology, Imperial College, London, UK
  2. Department of Nanobiotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria

The study of cellular heterogeneity and analysis of rare cell types has the potential to deliver great insights into a number of disease states, particularly in conditions associated with ageing and cancer. However, the technical challenges associated with such small systems mean that a whole new tool kit is required to extract meaningful, quantitative data. As a result, we have developed a suite of optically-manipulated Smart Droplet Microtools (SDMs)1  capable of sampling from or delivering to the membrane of an individual cell amongst a population, in a manner that is non-destructive, temporally resolved and repeatable. We have demonstrated the collection of inner-leaflet proteins and their deposition onto supported bilayers for later study,2  and have used related technologies to deliver known quantities of plasmid to single cells for quantitative dose-response transfection studies.

This means that for the first time we are capable of studying the responses of individual cells to stimuli in a way that lays bare their heterogeneity. When coupled with the single-molecule-sensitivity of the group’s microfluidic antibody capture chip technology,3  this will enable the quantitative readout of cellular function throughout any given cell’s life cycle.

  1. Lanigan, P. M. P., et al. (2012). Dynamical hologram generation for high speed optical trapping of smart droplet microtools. Biomedical Optics Express, 3(7), 1609. doi:10.1364/BOE.3.001609
  2. Schrems, A., et al. (2014). The grab-and-drop protocol: a novel strategy for membrane protein isolation and reconstitution from single cells. The Analyst. doi:10.1039/c4an00059e
  3. Salehi-Reyhani, A., et al. (2011). A first step towards practical single cell proteomics: a microfluidic antibody capture chip with TIRF detection. Lab on a Chip, 11(7), 1256–61. doi:10.1039/c0lc00613k