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Microfluidic platform for electrophysiological studies on Xenopus laevis oocytes under varying gravity levels


Schaffhauser, D F; Andrini, O; Ghezzi, C; Forster, I C; Franco-Obregón, A; Egli, M; Dittrich, P S (2011). Microfluidic platform for electrophysiological studies on Xenopus laevis oocytes under varying gravity levels. Lab on a Chip, 11(20):3471-3478.

Abstract

Voltage clamp measurements reveal important insights into the activity of membrane ion channels. While conventional voltage clamp systems are available for laboratory studies, these instruments are generally unsuitable for more rugged operating environments. In this study, we present a non-invasive microfluidic voltage clamp system developed for the use under varying gravity levels. The core component is a multilayer microfluidic device that provides an immobilisation site for Xenopus laevis oocytes on an intermediate layer, and fluid and electrical connections from either side of the cell. The configuration that we term the asymmetrical transoocyte voltage clamp (ATOVC) also permits electrical access to the cytosol of the oocyte without physical introduction of electrodes by permeabilisation of a large region of the oocyte membrane so that a defined membrane patch can be voltage clamped. The constant low level air pressure applied to the oocyte ensures stable immobilisation, which is essential for keeping the leak resistance constant even under varying gravitational forces. The ease of oocyte mounting and immobilisation combined with the robustness and complete enclosure of the fluidics system allow the use of the ATOVC under extreme environmental conditions, without the need for intervention by a human operator. Results for oocytes over-expressing the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) obtained under laboratory conditions as well as under conditions of micro- and hypergravity demonstrate the high reproducibility and stability of the ATOVC system under distinct mechanical scenarios.

Voltage clamp measurements reveal important insights into the activity of membrane ion channels. While conventional voltage clamp systems are available for laboratory studies, these instruments are generally unsuitable for more rugged operating environments. In this study, we present a non-invasive microfluidic voltage clamp system developed for the use under varying gravity levels. The core component is a multilayer microfluidic device that provides an immobilisation site for Xenopus laevis oocytes on an intermediate layer, and fluid and electrical connections from either side of the cell. The configuration that we term the asymmetrical transoocyte voltage clamp (ATOVC) also permits electrical access to the cytosol of the oocyte without physical introduction of electrodes by permeabilisation of a large region of the oocyte membrane so that a defined membrane patch can be voltage clamped. The constant low level air pressure applied to the oocyte ensures stable immobilisation, which is essential for keeping the leak resistance constant even under varying gravitational forces. The ease of oocyte mounting and immobilisation combined with the robustness and complete enclosure of the fluidics system allow the use of the ATOVC under extreme environmental conditions, without the need for intervention by a human operator. Results for oocytes over-expressing the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) obtained under laboratory conditions as well as under conditions of micro- and hypergravity demonstrate the high reproducibility and stability of the ATOVC system under distinct mechanical scenarios.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Physiology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Physiology

04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:21 October 2011
Deposited On:27 Oct 2011 14:08
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:03
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN:1473-0189
Publisher DOI:10.1039/c0lc00729c
PubMed ID:21870012
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-50301

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