Automated single cell microbioreactor for monitoring intracellular dynamics and cell growth in free solution†
We report an automated microfluidic-based platform for single cell analysis that allows for cell culture in free solution with the ability to control the cell growth environment. Using this approach, cells are confined by the sole action of gentle fluid flow, thereby enabling non-perturbative analysis of cell growth away from solid boundaries. In addition, the single cell microbioreactor allows for precise and time-dependent control over cell culture media, with the combined ability to observe the dynamics of non-adherent cells over long time scales. As a proof-of-principle demonstration, we used the platform to observe dynamic cell growth, gene expression, and intracellular diffusion of repressor proteins while precisely tuning the cell growth environment. Overall, this microfluidic approach enables the direct observation of cellular dynamics with exquisite control over environmental conditions, which will be useful for quantifying the behaviour of single cells in well-defined media.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2014 Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigators