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Microfluidic chip with pillar arrays for controlled production and observation of lipid membrane nanotubes

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Abstract

Lipid membrane nanotubes (NTs) are a widespread template for in vitro studies of cellular processes happening at high membrane curvature. Traditionally NTs are manufactured one by one, using sophisticated membrane micromanipulations, while simplified methods for controlled batch production of NTs are in growing demand. Here we propose a lab-on-a-chip (LOC) approach to the simultaneous formation of multiple NTs with length and radius controlled by the chip design. The NTs form upon rolling silica microbeads covered by lipid lamellas over the pillars of a polymer micropillar array. The array's design and surface chemistry set the geometry of the resulting free-standing NTs. The integration of the array inside a microfluidic chamber further enables fast and turbulence-free addition of components, such as proteins, to multiple preformed NTs. This LOC approach to NT production is compatible with the use of high power objectives of a fluorescence microscope, making real-time quantification of the different modes of the protein activity in a single experiment possible.

Graphical abstract: Microfluidic chip with pillar arrays for controlled production and observation of lipid membrane nanotubes

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
05 May 2020
Accepted
19 Jun 2020
First published
29 Jun 2020

This article is Open Access

Lab Chip, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Microfluidic chip with pillar arrays for controlled production and observation of lipid membrane nanotubes

J. M. Martinez Galvez, M. Garcia-Hernando, F. Benito-Lopez, L. Basabe-Desmonts and A. V. Shnyrova, Lab Chip, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0LC00451K

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