Single-cell manipulation using Nanopipettes

M.M. Maalouf, M. Jain, P. Actis, N. Pourmand
University of California, Santa Cruz, US

Keywords: nanopipette, single-cell injection, scanning ion conductance microscropy


Manipulation and analysis of individual cells is key in understanding processes that control single-cell behavior in complex environment. Nanotechnology-based tools having high sensitivity and low invasiveness are holding great promises as new biomedical devices for single cell manipulation. The fully electrical read-out as well as the ease and low cost of fabrication are unique features that give nanopipette technology enormous potential. Our group has used nanopipettes as a biosensor, and is now continuing to use nanopipettes for single-cell manipulation. We developed a single-cell manipulation platform based on quartz nanopipettes. The system uses scanning microscopy techniques to position the nanopipette with nanoscale precision. The nanopipette is fitted with electrodes to mediate voltage-dependent injection or aspiration form individual cells. This technology can be used for stem cell research by injection of a customized cocktail of molecules to induce pluripotency.