Universiteit Leiden

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Doris Heinrich Lab (Biophysics of Cellular Dynamics)

Controlled Chemotaxis

Spatially and Tempoprally Defined Microfluidics to Control Chemotactic Cells

The ability of cells to move into the direction of a chemical gradient is an important mechanism involved in physiological responses, like the movement of neutrophils in tissue or for angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels. In the model organism Dictyostelium discoideum it has been shown that the response to chemotactic stimulation occurs within seconds. Therefore it is important to manipulate the chemoattractant concentration on very short timescales, which is possible with the recent developments in microfluidics.

Experimental Setup

We have built a microfluidic setup to measure the sub-second chemotactic response of single cells, which allows us to expose the cells to defined gradients of chemoattractant, changing directions with switching times down to a few seconds. Consequently we observed a time-dependent directed motion for D. discoideum cells. To study the local protein response to a fast switching gradient by fluorescence imaging, we use knock-out and fluorescently labelled mutants of D. discoideum cells.

Publications within this project

  • B. Meier, A. Zielinski, C. Weber, D. Arcizet, S. Youssef, T. Franosch, J. O. Raedler, and D. Heinrich, Chemical cell trapping in controlled alternating gradient fields, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108(28):11417-11422 (2011)
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