New process for cell transfection in high-throughput screening

Figure 1: Selective manipulation of cells with fluorescent 10 kDa dextrans: The result of targeted laser irradiation using a laser mask can be seen under a microscope. Scale bars 10 mm (photo: LZH)

Figure 2: Functional model for high-throughput screening. (Illustration: LZH)

So far, the established methods for an efficient and cell-preserving transfection in high-throughput screening lead to unsatisfactory results. Within the scope of a project of the Industrial Joint Research (IFG), the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and its partners succeeded in developing a functional model for a gold nanoparticle-based laser transfection in high-throughput.

This transfection method is characterized by molecules entering the cells through an optically induced process. By attaching the gold nanoparticles to the cells, a photothermal effect is achieved under laser irradiation, which enables an efficient transfer of molecules into the cells.

Many advantages by changing the method
In comparison to the established methods for cell transfection, the risks and efforts can be considerably reduced by the gold nanoparticle process. The use of an optical mechanism also makes the method much more independent from the cell type and molecules used. Also, within larger samples, the transfection can be carried out both more precisely and cell-specifically.

Application tests and method comparisons for customers
Within the course of the project, a large amount of application data could already be collected, and application fields could be verified. The Biophotonic Imaging & Manipulation Group offers testing services for customer-specific methods and questions. Also, methods for cell transfection processes can be compared according to customer requirements.

Follow-up project with new partners
The project has been successfully completed by presenting a functional model. Now, the scientists are planning to continue their work. Methods for use in high-throughput testing shall be further developed and made ready for the market. Presently, the LZH is looking for partners from the screening area to build a prototype in the follow-up project.

The project “Setup and testing of a functional model for gold nanoparticle-based (GNOME) laser transfection in high throughput mode” is IGF project no. 18129 N of the Forschungsvereinigung Feinmechanik, Optik und Medizintechnik F.O.M. (Reseach Consortium Fine Mechanics, Optics and Medical Technology). It is supported via the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations "Otto von Guericke" e.V. (AiF) within the framewok of the Industrial Joint Research (IFG) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The members of the advisory committee were: Center for Applied Nanotechnology (CAN) GmbH, Cenix BioScience GmbH, European ScreeningPort GmbH, IBA GmbH, LaVision BioTec GmbH and LLS Rowiak LaserLabSolutions GmbH.

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Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH)

As an independent, non-profit research institute, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) stands for innovative research, development and consulting. The LZH is supported by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Economics, Labour and Transport and is dedicated to the selfless promotion of applied research in the field of photonics and laser technology. Founded in 1986, over 170 employees are now working for the LZH.

The focus of the LZH lies on the fields of optical components and systems, optical production technologies, and biomedical photonics. Interdisciplinary cooperation between natural scientists and mechanical engineers makes innovative approaches to challenges from the most different areas possible: from the development of components for specific laser systems to process developments for the most diverse laser applications, for example for medical technology or lightweight construction in the automotive sector. Seventeen spin off companies have emerged from the LZH up to now. Thus, the LZH has created a strong transfer between fundamental science, application oriented research, and industry.