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
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences