[Micromachines] An Automated Microfluidic System for the Generation of Droplet Interface Bilayer Net
Networks of droplets, in which aqueous compartments are separated by lipid bilayers, have shown great potential as a model for biological transmembrane communication. We present a microfluidic system which allows for on-demand generation of droplets that are hydrodynamically locked in a trapping structure. As a result, the system enables the formation of a network of four droplets connected via lipid bilayers and the positions of each droplet in the network can be controlled thanks to automation of microfluidic operations. We perform electrophysiological measurements of ionic currents indicating interactions between nanopores and small molecules to prove the potential of the device in screening of the inhibitors acting on membrane proteins. We also demonstrate, for the first time, a microfluidic droplet interface bilayer (DIB) system in which the testing of inhibitors can be performed without direct contact between the tested sample and the electrodes recording picoampere currents.
Magdalena A. Czekalska 1, Tomasz S. Kaminski 1, Michal Horka 1, Slawomir Jakiela 2 and Piotr Garstecki 1,* 1 Institute of Physical Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kasprzaka 44/52, 01-224 Warsaw, Poland 2 Department of Biophysics, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Nowoursynowska 159, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland * Correspondence: Tel.: +48-22-343-22-33 Academic Editors: Andrew J. deMello and Xavier Casadevall i Solvas Received: 27 January 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017