Metabolite fingerprinting: detecting biological features by independent component analysis. (1/1368)

MOTIVATION: Metabolite fingerprinting is a technology for providing information from spectra of total compositions of metabolites. Here, spectra acquisitions by microchip-based nanoflow-direct-infusion QTOF mass spectrometry, a simple and high throughput technique, is tested for its informative power. As a simple test case we are using Arabidopsis thaliana crosses. The question is how metabolite fingerprinting reflects the biological background. In many applications the classical principal component analysis (PCA) is used for detecting relevant information. Here a modern alternative is introduced-the independent component analysis (ICA). Due to its independence condition, ICA is more suitable for our questions than PCA. However, ICA has not been developed for a small number of high-dimensional samples, therefore a strategy is needed to overcome this limitation. RESULTS: To apply ICA successfully it is essential first to reduce the high dimension of the dataset, by using PCA. The number of principal components determines the quality of ICA significantly, therefore we propose a criterion for estimating the optimal dimension automatically. The kurtosis measure is used to order the extracted components to our interest. Applied to our A. thaliana data, ICA detects three relevant factors, two biological and one technical, and clearly outperforms the PCA.  (+info)

Microviscoelasticity of the apical cell surface of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) within confluent monolayers. (2/1368)

We studied the local viscoelasticity of the apical membrane of human umbilical vein endothelial cells within confluent layers by magnetic tweezers microrheometry. Magnetic beads are coupled to various integrins by coating with fibronectin or invasin. By analyzing the deflection of beads evoked by various force scenarios we demonstrate that the cell envelope behaves as a linear viscoelastic body if forces up to 2 nN are applied for short times (<20 s) but can respond in an adaptive way if stress pulses are applied longer (>30 s). The time-dependent shear relaxation modulus G(t) exhibits three time regimes: a fast response (t < 0.05 s) where the relaxation modulus G(t) obeys a power law G(t) approximately t(-0.82+/-0.02); a plateau-like behavior (at 0.05 s < t < 0.15 s); and a slow flow-like response which is, however, partially reversible. Strain field mapping experiments with colloidal probes show that local forces induce a strain field exhibiting a range of zeta = 10 +/- 1 microm, but which could only be observed if nonmagnetic beads were coupled to the cell surface by invasin. By application of the theory of elasticity of planar bodies we estimated a surface shear modulus of 2.5 x10(-4) N/m. By assuming a thickness of the actin cortex of approximately 0.5 microm we estimate a Young modulus micro approximately 400 Pa for the apical membrane. The value agrees with a plateau modulus of an entangled or weakly cross-linked actin network of an actin concentration of 100 microM (mesh size 0.2 microm). This result together with our observation of a strong reduction of the shear modulus by the actin destabilizing agent latrunculin A suggests that the shear modulus measured by our technique is determined by the actin cortex. The effect of two ligands inducing actin stress fiber formation and centripetal contraction of cells (associated with the formation of gaps in the confluent cell monolayer) on the viscoelastic responses were studied: histamine and lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Histamine evoked a dramatic increase of the cell stiffness by >1 order of magnitude within <30 s, which is attributed to a transient rise of the intracellular Ca(2+) level, since DMSO exerted a similar effect. The stiffening is accompanied by a concomitant rounding of the cells as observed by microinterferometry and relaxes partially in the timescale of 5 min, whereas gaps between cells close after approximately 30 min. LPA did not exert a remarkable and reproducible effect other than an occasional very weak transient increase of the shear stiffness, which shows that the gap formation activated by LPA is mediated by a different mechanism than that induced by histamine.  (+info)

Formation of droplets of alternating composition in microfluidic channels and applications to indexing of concentrations in droplet-based assays. (3/1368)

For screening the conditions for a reaction by using droplets (or plugs) as microreactors, the composition of the droplets must be indexed. Indexing here refers to measuring the concentration of a solute by addition of a marker, either internal or external. Indexing may be performed by forming droplet pairs, where in each pair the first droplet is used to conduct the reaction, and the second droplet is used to index the composition of the first droplet. This paper characterizes a method for creating droplet pairs by generating alternating droplets, of two sets of aqueous solutions in a flow of immiscible carrier fluid within PDMS and glass microfluidic channels. The paper also demonstrates that the technique can be used to index the composition of the droplets, and this application is illustrated by screening conditions of protein crystallization. The fluid properties required to form the steady flow of the alternating droplets in a microchannel were characterized as a function of the capillary number Ca and water fraction. Four regimes were observed. At the lowest values of Ca, the droplets of the two streams coalesced; at intermediate values of Ca the alternating droplets formed reliably. At even higher values of Ca, shear forces dominated and caused formation of droplets that were smaller than the cross-sectional dimension of the channel; at the highest values of Ca, coflowing laminar streams of the two immiscible fluids formed. In addition to screening of protein crystallization conditions, understanding of the fluid flow in this system may extend this indexing approach to other chemical and biological assays performed on a microfluidic chip.  (+info)

Computerized microfluidic cell culture using elastomeric channels and Braille displays. (4/1368)

Computer-controlled microfluidics would advance many types of cellular assays and microscale tissue engineering studies wherever spatiotemporal changes in fluidics need to be defined. However, this goal has been elusive because of the limited availability of integrated, programmable pumps and valves. This paper demonstrates how a refreshable Braille display, with its grid of 320 vertically moving pins, can power integrated pumps and valves through localized deformations of channel networks within elastic silicone rubber. The resulting computerized fluidic control is able to switch among: (i) rapid and efficient mixing between streams, (ii) multiple laminar flows with minimal mixing between streams, and (iii) segmented plug-flow of immiscible fluids within the same channel architecture. The same control method is used to precisely seed cells, compartmentalize them into distinct subpopulations through channel reconfiguration, and culture each cell subpopulation for up to 3 weeks under perfusion. These reliable microscale cell cultures showed gradients of cellular behavior from C2C12 myoblasts along channel lengths, as well as differences in cell density of undifferentiated myoblasts and differentiation patterns, both programmable through different flow rates of serum-containing media. This technology will allow future microscale tissue or cell studies to be more accessible, especially for high-throughput, complex, and long-term experiments. The microfluidic actuation method described is versatile and computer programmable, yet simple, well packaged, and portable enough for personal use.  (+info)

Syntheses of 11C- and 18F-labeled carboxylic esters within a hydrodynamically-driven micro-reactor. (5/1368)

Carboxylic esters were successfully labeled with one of two short-lived positron-emitters, carbon-11 or fluorine-18, within a hydrodynamically-driven micro-reactor. The non-radioactive methyl ester was obtained at room temperature; its yield increased with higher substrate concentration and with reduced infusion rate. Radioactive methyl ester was obtained from the reaction of (10 mM) with in 56% decay-corrected radiochemical yield (RCY) at an infusion rate of 10 microL min(-1), and when the infusion rate was reduced to 1 microL min(-1), the RCY increased to 88%. The synthesis of the non-radioactive fluoroethyl ester from and required heating of the micro-reactor on a heating block at 80 degrees C (14-17% RCY), whilst the corresponding radioactive from and was obtained in 10% RCY. The radioactive 'peripheral' benzodiazepine receptor ligand was obtained from the reaction of acid with labeling agent in 45% RCY at an infusion rate of 10 microL min(-1). When the infusion rate was reduced to 1 microL min(-1), the RCY increased to 65%. The results exemplify a new methodology for producing radiotracers for imaging with positron emission tomography that has many potential advantages, including a requirement for small quantities of substrates, enhanced reaction, rapid reaction optimisation and easy product purification.  (+info)

Wetting morphologies at microstructured surfaces. (6/1368)

The wetting of microstructured surfaces is studied both experimentally and theoretically. Even relatively simple surface topographies such as grooves with rectangular cross section exhibit a large variety of different wetting morphologies as observed by atomic force microscopy. This polymorphism arises from liquid wedge formation along the groove corners and from contact line pinning along the groove edges. A global morphology diagram is derived that depends only on two system parameters: (i) the aspect ratio of the groove geometry and (ii) The contact angle of the underlying substrate material. For microfluidics, the most interesting shape regimes involve extended liquid filaments, which can grow and shrink in length while their cross section stays essentially constant. Thus, any method by which one can vary the contact angle can be used to switch the length of the filament, as is demonstrated in the context of electrowetting.  (+info)

Controlling nonspecific protein adsorption in a plug-based microfluidic system by controlling interfacial chemistry using fluorous-phase surfactants. (7/1368)

Control of surface chemistry and protein adsorption is important for using microfluidic devices for biochemical analysis and high-throughput screening assays. This paper describes the control of protein adsorption at the liquid-liquid interface in a plug-based microfluidic system. The microfluidic system uses multiphase flows of immiscible fluorous and aqueous fluids to form plugs, which are aqueous droplets that are completely surrounded by fluorocarbon oil and do not come into direct contact with the hydrophobic surface of the microchannel. Protein adsorption at the aqueous-fluorous interface was controlled by using surfactants that were soluble in fluorocarbon oil but insoluble in aqueous solutions. Three perfluorinated alkane surfactants capped with different functional groups were used: a carboxylic acid, an alcohol, and a triethylene glycol group that was synthesized from commercially available materials. Using complementary methods of analysis, adsorption was characterized for several proteins (bovine serum albumin (BSA) and fibrinogen), including enzymes (ribonuclease A (RNase A) and alkaline phosphatase). These complementary methods involved characterizing adsorption in microliter-sized droplets by drop tensiometry and in nanoliter plugs by fluorescence microscopy and kinetic measurements of enzyme catalysis. The oligoethylene glycol-capped surfactant prevented protein adsorption in all cases. Adsorption of proteins to the carboxylic acid-capped surfactant in nanoliter plugs could be described by using the Langmuir model and tensiometry results for microliter drops. The microfluidic system was fabricated using rapid prototyping in poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). Black PDMS microfluidic devices, fabricated by curing a suspension of charcoal in PDMS, were used to measure the changes in fluorescence intensity more sensitively. This system will be useful for microfluidic bioassays, enzymatic kinetics, and protein crystallization, because it does not require surface modification during fabrication to control surface chemistry and protein adsorption.  (+info)

High-throughput mouse genotyping using robotics automation. (8/1368)

The use of mouse models is rapidly expanding in biomedical research. This has dictated the need for the rapid genotyping of mutant mouse colonies for more efficient utilization of animal holding space. We have established a high-throughput protocol for mouse genotyping using two robotics workstations: a liquid-handling robot to assemble PCR and a microfluidics electrophoresis robot for PCR product analysis. This dual-robotics setup incurs lower start-up costs than a fully automated system while still minimizing human intervention. Essential to this automation scheme is the construction of a database containing customized scripts for programming the robotics workstations. Using these scripts and the robotics systems, multiple combinations of genotyping reactions can be assembled simultaneously, allowing even complex genotyping data to be generated rapidly with consistency and accuracy. A detailed protocol, database, scripts, and additional background information are available at  (+info)