Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microprinting leads to low-cost artificial cells

Date:
December 16, 2013
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Easily manufactured, low-cost artificial cells manufactured using microprinting may one day serve as drug and gene delivery devices and in biomaterials, biotechnology and biosensing applications, according to biomedical engineers. These artificial cells will also allow researchers to explore actions that take place at the cell membrane.

Easily manufactured, low-cost artificial cells manufactured using microprinting may one day serve as drug and gene delivery devices and in biomaterials, biotechnology and biosensing applications, according to a team of Penn State biomedical engineers. These artificial cells will also allow researchers to explore actions that take place at the cell membrane.

"In a natural cell, so much is going on inside that it is extremely complex," said Sheereen Majd, assistant professor of biomedical engineering. "With these artificial cells -- liposomes -- we have just the shell, which gives us the ability to dissect the events that happen at the membrane."

Understanding how drugs and pathogens cross the cell membrane barrier is essential in preventing disease and delivering drugs, and researchers have created artificial cells for quite some time. However, Majd's team is creating large arrays of artificial cells, made of lipids and proteins, of uniform size that can either remain attached to the substrate on which they grow, or become separated and used as freely moving vessels. The researchers report the results of their work today (Dec. 15) in Advanced Materials.

"The trend in the pharmaceutical industry today is that they like to do high throughput screenings," said Majd. "They could use a large number of these artificial cells all of the same size with the same conditions in an array and monitor many cells at once."

The researchers' cells are also different because they contain lipids with protein components the way cell membranes exist in nature. The various proteins serve to allow certain materials to enter and leave the cell, acting as regulators.

"These giant proteoliposomes closely mimic cellular membranes," said Majd. "So they are excellent model systems for studying processes that happen at the surface of cells such as the molecular events that occur when pathogens and drugs enter cells."

Older methods of artificial cell creation used dried lipids, but in order to create cells with proteins, the system must remain moist because when proteins dry out, they become useless.

Using hydrogel stamping, a process that creates a stamp out of wet hydrogel that deposits dots of the lipid and protein mixture on the surface of the substrate, the researchers can lay out an array of potential artificial cell locations. They then apply an AC electric field to the substrate. Where the lipid and protein mixture exists, tiny bubbles form that eventually combine into one artificial cell. The result is an array of artificial cells neatly placed and spaced on the substrate.

"The physical phenomenon on exactly how the AC field creates the bubbles is not yet understood," said Majd. "But the bottom line is that the AC electric field produces agitation that creates the tiny bubbles that merge to form the cells. This process is called electroformation."

The variety of lipids and proteins used can vary depending on the ultimate purpose of the artificial cells. The cells that form are between 20 and 50 microns, within the range of natural cells.

"The beauty of this method is that a lot of labs already use liposomes and electroformation," said Majd. "However, traditionally they do not have proteins attached."

Another problem is the traditional method creates artificial cells in tens of sizes situated all over the place, she added. Other methods require complex devices such as microfluidics to create uniformly sized artificial cells. With the hydrogel stamping method, it is easy to control the size of artificial cells and to generate a large number of these cells efficiently.

The researchers would next like to incorporate more than just lipids and proteins into the artificial cells. One possibility is to bind potential drugs to the proteins and lipids.

Besides Majd, You Jung Kang, graduate student in biomedical engineering, and Harrison S. Wostein, undergraduate in bioengineering, worked on this project.

The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation at the Pittsburgh Foundation helped support this work.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. The original article was written by A'ndrea Elyse Messer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. You Jung Kang, Harrison S. Wostein, Sheereen Majd. Giant Vesicle Arrays: A Simple and Versatile Method for the Formation of Arrays of Giant Vesicles with Controlled Size and Composition (Adv. Mater. 47/2013). Advanced Materials, 2013; 25 (47): 6775 DOI: 10.1002/adma.201370293

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Microprinting leads to low-cost artificial cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216155002.htm>.
Penn State. (2013, December 16). Microprinting leads to low-cost artificial cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216155002.htm
Penn State. "Microprinting leads to low-cost artificial cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216155002.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins