Category: Micro- and Nanotechnologies
Cell-cell communication can occur through various chemical and mechanical signals, leading to a variety of biological responses such as neural transmission, quorum sensing, and global inflammatory response. However, traditional cell culture systems lack single cell resolution and are often limited by sensitivity and accuracy. In this study, we present a programmable static droplet array (SDA) for in-situ analysis of the effect of population on natural cell-cell contact and signaling processes in a controlled microenvironment. This SDA enables user-demanded unit operations by trapping, encapsulation, arraying, storage, and incubation of individually addressed droplet. The main advantages of programmability, addressability, and selective recovery of droplet open general screening platform. We monitored the response of budding yeast to mating pheromones, as an example of eukaryotic cell-cell communication, with this SDA device. Specifically, we analyzed the yeast response to varying concentration of synthetic α-factor pheromone, as well as varying the cell number ratio of MATα and MATa in a confined space. We found morphological and doubling-time changes during the mating reaction with a higher accuracy. Further, the SDA is capable of detecting the function of genes in yeast mutants defective for different aspects of pheromone signaling. Taken together, the SDA provides a valuable research tool to study cell-cell communication and signaling in a controlled microenvironment with the sensitivity and accuracy required for screening and long-term phenotypic analysis.
Si Hyung Jin– Ph.D candidate student, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Taejon-jikhalsi, Republic of Korea