Biotechniques

Cell squeezer gets molecules in

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
493,
Page:
581
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/493581e
Published online

The cell membrane, largely impermeable to large molecules, can be breached with needles, electricity and chemicals. But now researchers have devised a less traumatic and more efficient way of delivering molecules into cells, involving squeezing cells in a microfluidic device (pictured).

A. SHAREI

A team led by Klavs Jensen and Robert Langer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge found that passing various cells through the micrometre-wide channels of their device deforms the cells, creating temporary holes in the cell membrane that allow large molecules to pass through. The new approach is 10 to 100 times more efficient than conventional methods at delivering proteins into human skin cells to reprogram them into stem-cell-like cells.

The technique could be used to deliver therapeutic molecules into human cells, the authors say.

Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1218705110 (2013)

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