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Combined Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Localized Electroporation-Based Cell Transfection and Sampling

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journal contribution
posted on 19.11.2018, 00:00 by Prithvijit Mukherjee, S. Shiva P. Nathamgari, John A. Kessler, Horacio D. Espinosa
Localized electroporation has evolved as an effective technology for the delivery of foreign molecules into cells while preserving their viability. Consequently, this technique has potential applications in sampling the contents of live cells and the temporal assessment of cellular states at the single-cell level. Although there have been numerous experimental reports on localized electroporation-based delivery, a lack of a mechanistic understanding of the process hinders its implementation in sampling. In this work, we develop a multiphysics model that predicts the transport of molecules into and out of the cell during localized electroporation. Based on the model predictions, we optimize experimental parameters such as buffer conditions, electric field strength, cell confluency, and density of nanochannels in the substrate for successful delivery and sampling via localized electroporation. We also identify that cell membrane tension plays a crucial role in enhancing both the amount and the uniformity of molecular transport, particularly for macromolecules. We qualitatively validate the model predictions on a localized electroporation platform by delivering large molecules (bovine serum albumin and mCherry-encoding plasmid) and by sampling an exogeneous protein (tdTomato) in an engineered cell line.