Researchers from Nexus Spine LLC and Brigham Young University have Developed New, High-Tech Device for Transferring DNA into Cells
The ability to transfer a gene or DNA sequence from one animal into the genome of another plays a critical role in a wide range of medical research—including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.
This SEM (scanning electron microscope) image shows the nanoinjector next to a latex bead the same size as an egg cell. You can see the size of the nanoinjector and its lance compared to a cell.
But the traditional method of transferring genetic material into a new cell, called “microinjection,” has a serious downside. It involves using a small glass pipette to pump a solution containing DNA into the nucleus of an egg cell, but the extra fluid can cause the cell to swell and destroy it—resulting in a 25 to 40 percent cell death rate.
Now, thanks to the work of researchers from Brigham Young University, there’s a way to avoid cell death when introducing DNA into egg cells. In Review of Scientific Instruments, the team describes its microelectromechanical system (MEMS) nanoinjector, which was designed to inject DNA into mouse zygotes (single-cell embryos consisting of a fertilized egg).
“Essentially, we use electrical forces to attract and repel DNA—allowing injections to occur with a tiny, electrically conductive lance,” explained Brian Jensen, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University. “DNA is attracted to the outside of the lance using positive voltage, and then the lance is inserted into a cell.”
The MEMS nanoinjector’s lance is incredibly small and no extra fluid is used with this technique, so cells undergo much less stress compared to the traditional microinjection process.
This ability to inject DNA into cells without causing cell death leads to “more efficient injections, which in turn reduces the cost to create a transgenic animal,” according to Jensen.
One of the team’s most significant findings is that it’s possible to use the electrical forces to get DNA into the nucleus of the cell—without having to carefully aim the lance into the pronucleus (the cellular structure containing the cell’s DNA). “This may enable future automation of the injections, without requiring manual injection,” Jensen says.
It may also mean that injections can be performed in animals with cloudy or opaque embryos. “Such animals, including many interesting larger ones like pigs, would be attractive for a variety of transgenic technologies,” said Jensen. “We believe nanoinjection may open new fields of discovery in these animals.”
As a next step, Jensen and colleagues are performing injections into cells in a cell culture using an array of lances that can inject hundreds of thousands of cells at once. “We expect the lance array may enable gene therapy using a culture of a patient’s own cells,” he noted.
The article "A Self-Reconfiguring Metamorphic Nanoinjector for Injection into Mouse Zygotes" by Quentin T. Aten, Brian D. Jensen, Sandra H. Burnett, and Larry L. Howell will be published in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 (DOI: 10.1063/1.4872077). After that date, it will be available at: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/rsi/85/5/10.1063/1.4872077
The paper's first author Quentin Aten participated in this research while at Brigham Young University. He is now working at Nexus Spine LLC.
ABOUT THE JOURNAL
The journal Review of Scientific Instruments, which is produced by AIP Publishing, presents innovation in instrumentation and methods across disciplines. See: http://rsi.aip.org/
Jason Socrates Bardi | newswise
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences