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Issue 3, 2006
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A three-channel microfluidic device for generating static linear gradients and its application to the quantitative analysis of bacterial chemotaxis

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Abstract

We have developed a prototype three-channel microfluidic chip that is capable of generating a linear concentration gradient within a microfluidic channel and is useful in the study of bacterial chemotaxis. The linear chemical gradient is established by diffusing a chemical through a porous membrane located in the side wall of the channel and can be established without through-flow in the channel where cells reside. As a result, movement of the cells in the center channel is caused solely by the cells chemotactic response and not by variations in fluid flow. The advantages of this microfluidic chemical linear gradient generator are (i) its ability to produce a static chemical gradient, (ii) its rapid implementation, and (iii) its potential for highly parallel sample processing. Using this device, wildtype Escherichia coli strain RP437 was observed to move towards an attractant (e.g., L-asparate) and away from a repellent (e.g., glycerol) while derivatives of RP437 that were incapable of motility or chemotaxis showed no bias of the bacteria's distribution. Additionally, the degree of chemotaxis could be easily quantified using this assay in conjunction with fluorescence imaging techniques, allowing for estimation of the chemotactic partition coefficient (CPC) and the chemotactic migration coefficient (CMC). Finally, using this approach we demonstrate that E. coli deficient in autoinducer-2-mediated quorum sensing respond to the chemoattractant L-aspartate in a manner that is indistinguishable from wildtype cells suggesting that chemotaxis is insulated from this mode of cell–cell communication.

Graphical abstract: A three-channel microfluidic device for generating static linear gradients and its application to the quantitative analysis of bacterial chemotaxis

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Aug 2005, accepted on 23 Nov 2005 and first published on 13 Dec 2005


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B511958H
Citation: Lab Chip, 2006,6, 381-388
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    A three-channel microfluidic device for generating static linear gradients and its application to the quantitative analysis of bacterial chemotaxis

    J. Diao, L. Young, S. Kim, E. A. Fogarty, S. M. Heilman, P. Zhou, M. L. Shuler, M. Wu and M. P. DeLisa, Lab Chip, 2006, 6, 381
    DOI: 10.1039/B511958H

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