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Unravelling the cellular response to photoporation.

Delivering compounds into cells is a ubiquitous requirement for fundamental life science research and cell-based clinical applications. Since cells are protected from the outside world by their plasma membrane, it requires sophisticated technology to deliver compounds across this barrier without causing toxicity. Photoporation is emerging as a powerful technology to achieve exactly this. It relies on laser illumination of plasmonic nanoparticles that have been added to cells. Absorption of the laser energy by the nanoparticles causes the plasma membrane to become permeable by local heating or pressure effects, allowing external compounds to diffuse into the cells. While it has been amply demonstrated that photoporation does not cause acute cytotoxicity, it remains unknown how it affects cell physiology at the short and longer term. Yet, this information is crucial to safely implement the technology in different settings. Therefore, we will unravel the cellular response to photoporation. We will thereby analyse early downstream events such as the activation of membrane repair pathways and induction of cellular stress levels, as well as more persistent changes in gene expression and genome integrity. The fundamental insights from these studies will provide a solid basis for making photoporation a standard transfection technology that can be used with confidence. At the same time, it will help devise strategies to reduce or exploit potential side effects of photoporation.
Date:1 Jan 2019  →  Today
Disciplines:Animal cell and molecular biology, Intracellular compartments and transport, Transcription and translation, Transcriptomics, Biomedical image processing, Biophotonics, Biomechanics
Project type:Collaboration project