Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 59652
Self-Assembled Laser-Activated Plasmonic Substrates for High-Throughput, High-Efficiency Intracellular Delivery

Authors: Marinna Madrid, Nabiha Saklayen, Marinus Huber, Nicolas Vogel, Christos Boutopoulos, Michel Meunier, Eric Mazur

Abstract:

Delivering material into cells is important for a diverse range of biological applications, including gene therapy, cellular engineering and imaging. We present a plasmonic substrate for delivering membrane-impermeable material into cells at high throughput and high efficiency while maintaining cell viability. The substrate fabrication is based on an affordable and fast colloidal self-assembly process. When illuminated with a femtosecond laser, the light interacts with the electrons at the surface of the metal substrate, creating localized surface plasmons that form bubbles via energy dissipation in the surrounding medium. These bubbles come into close contact with the cell membrane to form transient pores and enable entry of membrane-impermeable material via diffusion. We use fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry to verify delivery of membrane-impermeable material into HeLa CCL-2 cells. We show delivery efficiency and cell viability data for a range of membrane-impermeable cargo, including dyes and biologically relevant material such as siRNA. We estimate the effective pore size by determining delivery efficiency for hard fluorescent spheres with diameters ranging from 20 nm to 2 um. To provide insight to the cell poration mechanism, we relate the poration data to pump-probe measurements of micro- and nano-bubble formation on the plasmonic substrate. Finally, we investigate substrate stability and reusability by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to inspect for damage on the substrate after laser treatment. SEM images show no visible damage. Our findings indicate that self-assembled plasmonic substrates are an affordable tool for high-throughput, high-efficiency delivery of material into mammalian cells.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, plasmonic, intracellular delivery, femtosecond laser

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