Nanoinjection increases survival rate of cells
Physicists at Bielefeld University develop new method for microscopic research
How do tumours grow? And how do bacteria transform harmless substances into medical agents? When biophysicists want to understand what is happening in living cells, they have to introduce fluorescent probes or other foreign molecules. There are several ways to overcome the cell wall without causing the cell permanent harm. Physicists at Bielefeld University have developed a particularly gentle method for this: nanoinjection. In a new study to be found in ‘Scientific Reports’ published by ‘Nature’, they show that with this method, nine out of ten cells survive being injected with foreign molecules.
Dr. Simon Hennig adds: ‘Living cells impede the intrusion of most fluorescent probes.’ The physicist is working in Huser’s research group. To overcome this resistance when delivering fluorescent probes into the cells, he has developed the method of nanoinjection. He uses a minute hollow glass pipette to deliver the fluorescent molecules to individual cells. The process is controlled by a computer. An instrument specially developed for nanoinjection inserts the pipette into the cell. The tip of this glass capillary is much smaller than that used in usual microinjection. Moreover, the process prevents the cell from increasing insize, because only the molecules are transferred and not the liquid in the pipette as well. ‘The method is so precise that we can even deliver the molecules to the nucleus of a cell,’ says Hennig.
Matthias Simonis, Wolfgang Hübner, Alice Wilking, Thomas Huser & Simon Hennig: Survival rate of eukaryotic cells following electrophoretic nanoinjection. Nature Publishing Group, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep41277, published on the 25th of January 2017
Further information is available online at:
Description of nanoinjection: http://www.physik.uni-bielefeld.de/biopho/index.php/en/research/live-cell-microscopy/nano-injection
Dr. Simon Hennig, Bielefeld University
Faculty of Physics
Telephone: 0049 521 106-5434