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(1/884) The pressure-dependence of the size of extruded vesicles.

Variations in the size of vesicles formed by extrusion through small pores are discussed in terms of a simple model. Our model predicts that the radius should decrease as the square root of the applied pressure, consistent with data for vesicles extruded under various conditions. The model also predicts dependencies on the pore size used and on the lysis tension of the vesicles being extruded that are consistent with our data. The pore size was varied by using track-etched polycarbonate membranes with average pore diameters ranging from 50 to 200 nm. To vary the lysis tension, vesicles made from POPC (1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine), mixtures of POPC and cholesterol, and mixtures of POPC and C(16)-ceramide were studied. The lysis tension, as measured by an extrusion-based technique, of POPC:cholesterol vesicles is higher than that of pure POPC vesicles whereas POPC:ceramide vesicles have lower lysis tensions than POPC vesicles.  (+info)

(2/884) The shape parameter of liposomes and DNA-lipid complexes determined by viscometry utilizing small sample volumes.

A minicapillary viscometer utilizing <0.5 ml of sample at a volume fraction of <0.1% is described. The calculated a/b of DPPC/DPPG multilamellar liposome was 1.14 as prolate ellipsoids and a/b of dioleoylpropyltrimethyl ammonium methylsulfate-DNA complex at a charge ratio of 4:1 (+/-) was 3.7 as prolate ellipsoids or 4.9 as oblate ellipsoids. The deviation of shape from perfect sphere is thus expressed quantitatively in more than two significant figures. In these measurement, the necessary amount of DNA is <0.5 mg.  (+info)

(3/884) Recovery, visualization, and analysis of actin and tubulin polymer flow in live cells: a fluorescent speckle microscopy study.

Fluorescent speckle microscopy (FSM) is becoming the technique of choice for analyzing in vivo the dynamics of polymer assemblies, such as the cytoskeleton. The massive amount of data produced by this method calls for computational approaches to recover the quantities of interest; namely, the polymerization and depolymerization activities and the motions undergone by the cytoskeleton over time. Attempts toward this goal have been hampered by the limited signal-to-noise ratio of typical FSM data, by the constant appearance and disappearance of speckles due to polymer turnover, and by the presence of flow singularities characteristic of many cytoskeletal polymer assemblies. To deal with these problems, we present a particle-based method for tracking fluorescent speckles in time-lapse FSM image series, based on ideas from operational research and graph theory. Our software delivers the displacements of thousands of speckles between consecutive frames, taking into account that speckles may appear and disappear. In this article we exploit this information to recover the speckle flow field. First, the software is tested on synthetic data to validate our methods. We then apply it to mapping filamentous actin retrograde flow at the front edge of migrating newt lung epithelial cells. Our results confirm findings from previously published kymograph analyses and manual tracking of such FSM data and illustrate the power of automated tracking for generating complete and quantitative flow measurements. Third, we analyze microtubule poleward flux in mitotic metaphase spindles assembled in Xenopus egg extracts, bringing new insight into the dynamics of microtubule assemblies in this system.  (+info)

(4/884) Electrokinetic stretching of tethered DNA.

During electrophoretic separations of DNA in a sieving medium, DNA molecules stretch from a compact coil into elongated conformations when encountering an obstacle and relax back to a coil upon release from the obstacle. These stretching dynamics are thought to play an important role in the separation mechanism. In this article we describe a silicon microfabricated device to measure the stretching of tethered DNA in electric fields. Upon application of an electric field, electro-osmosis generates bulk fluid flow in the device, and a protocol for eliminating this flow by attaching a polymer brush to all silicon oxide surfaces is shown to be effective. Data on the steady stretching of DNA in constant electric fields is presented. The data corroborate the approximate theory of hydrodynamic equivalence, indicating that DNA is not free-draining in the presence of both electric and nonelectric forces. Finally, these data provide the first quantitative test of a Stigter and Bustamante's detailed theory of electrophoretic stretching of DNA without adjustable parameters. The agreement between theory and experiment is good.  (+info)

(5/884) Hydrostatic pressurization and depletion of trapped lubricant pool during creep contact of a rippled indenter against a biphasic articular cartilage layer.

This study presents an analysis of the contact of a rippled rigid impermeable indenter against a cartilage layer, which represents a first simulation of the contact of rough cartilage surfaces with lubricant entrapment. Cartilage was modeled with the biphasic theory for hydrated soft tissues, to account for fluid flow into or out of the lubricant pool. The findings of this study demonstrate that under contact creep, the trapped lubricant pool gets depleted within a time period on the order of seconds or minutes as a result of lubricant flow into the articular cartilage. Prior to depletion, hydrostatic fluid load support across the contact interface may be enhanced by the presence of the trapped lubricant pool, depending on the initial geometry of the lubricant pool. According to friction models based on the biphasic nature of the tissue, this enhancement in fluid load support produces a smaller minimum friction coefficient than would otherwise be predicted without a lubricant pool. The results of this study support the hypothesis that trapped lubricant decreases the initial friction coefficient following load application, independently of squeeze-film lubrication effects.  (+info)

(6/884) Millisecond kinetics on a microfluidic chip using nanoliters of reagents.

This paper describes a microfluidic chip for performing kinetic measurements with better than millisecond resolution. Rapid kinetic measurements in microfluidic systems are complicated by two problems: mixing is slow and dispersion is large. These problems also complicate biochemical assays performed in microfluidic chips. We have recently shown (Song, H.; Tice, J. D.; Ismagilov, R. F. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2003, 42, 768-772) how multiphase fluid flow in microchannels can be used to address both problems by transporting the reagents inside aqueous droplets (plugs) surrounded by an immiscible fluid. Here, this droplet-based microfluidic system was used to extract kinetic parameters of an enzymatic reaction. Rapid single-turnover kinetics of ribonuclease A (RNase A) was measured with better than millisecond resolution using sub-microliter volumes of solutions. To obtain the single-turnover rate constant (k = 1100 +/- 250 s(-1)), four new features for this microfluidics platform were demonstrated: (i) rapid on-chip dilution, (ii) multiple time range access, (iii) biocompatibility with RNase A, and (iv) explicit treatment of mixing for improving time resolution of the system. These features are discussed using kinetics of RNase A. From fluorescent images integrated for 2-4 s, each kinetic profile can be obtained using less than 150 nL of solutions of reagents because this system relies on chaotic advection inside moving droplets rather than on turbulence to achieve rapid mixing. Fabrication of these devices in PDMS is straightforward and no specialized equipment, except for a standard microscope with a CCD camera, is needed to run the experiments. This microfluidic platform could serve as an inexpensive and economical complement to stopped-flow methods for a broad range of time-resolved experiments and assays in chemistry and biochemistry.  (+info)

(7/884) Rethinking gamete/embryo isolation and culture with microfluidics.

IVF remains one of the most exciting modern scientific developments and continues to have a tremendous impact on people's lives. Since its beginnings, scientists have studied and critically analysed the techniques in order to find ways to improve outcomes; however, little has changed with the actual technology and equipment of IVF. Semen is still processed in test tubes and fertilization and culture still occurs in culture dishes. New technological possibilities exist with the burgeoning advancement of microfluidic technology. Microfluidics is based on the behaviour of liquids in a microenvironment. Although a young field, many developments have occurred which demonstrate the potential of this technology for IVF. In this review, we briefly discuss the physical principles of microfluidics and highlight some previous utilizations of this technology, ranging from chemical analysis to cell sorting. We then present the designs and outcomes for microfluidic devices utilized thus far for each step in IVF: gamete isolation and processing, fertilization, and embryo culture. Finally, we discuss and speculate on the ultimate goal of this technology--development of a single, integrated unit for in-vitro assisted reproduction techniques.  (+info)

(8/884) A new tool for routine testing of cellular protein expression: integration of cell staining and analysis of protein expression on a microfluidic chip-based system.

The key benefits of Lab-on-a-Chip technology are substantial time savings via an automation of lab processes, and a reduction in sample and reagent volumes required to perform analysis. In this article we present a new implementation of cell assays on disposable microfluidic chips. The applications are based on the controlled movement of cells by pressure-driven flow in microfluidic channels and two-color fluorescence detection of single cells. This new technology allows for simple flow cytometric studies of cells in a microfluidic chip-based system. In addition, we developed staining procedures that work "on-chip," thus eliminating time-consuming washing steps. Cells and staining-reagents are loaded directly onto the microfluidic chip and analysis can start after a short incubation time. These procedures require only a fraction of the staining reagents generally needed for flow cytometry and only 30,000 cells per sample, demonstrating the advantages of microfluidic technology. The specific advantage of an on-chip staining reaction is the amount of time, cells, and reagents saved, which is of great importance when working with limited numbers of cells, e.g., primary cells or when needing to perform routine tests of cell cultures as a quality control step. Applications of this technology are antibody staining of proteins and determination of cell transfection efficiency by GFP expression. Results obtained with microfluidic chips, using standard cell lines and primary cells, show good correlation with data obtained using a conventional flow cytometer.  (+info)