Budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an important model organism in aging research. Genetic studies have revealed many genes with conserved effects on the lifespan across species. However, the molecular causes of aging and death remain elusive. To gain a systematic understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying yeast aging, we need high-throughput methods to measure lifespan and to quantify various cellular and molecular phenotypes in single cells. Previously, we developed microfluidic devices to track budding yeast mother cells throughout their lifespan while flushing away newborn daughter cells. This article presents a method for preparing microfluidic chips and for setting up microfluidic experiments. Multiple channels can be used to simultaneously track cells under different conditions or from different yeast strains. A typical setup can track hundreds of cells per channel and allow for high-resolution microscope imaging throughout the lifespan of the cells. Our method also allows detailed characterization of the lifespan, molecular markers, cell morphology, and the cell cycle dynamics of single cells. In addition, our microfluidic device is able to trap a significant amount of fresh mother cells that can be identified by downstream image analysis, making it possible to measure the lifespan with higher accuracy.
Ke Zou1,2, Diana S. Ren2, Qi Ou-yang1,3, Hao Li2, Jiashun Zheng2
1The State Key Laboratory for Artificial Microstructures and Mesoscopic Physics, School of Physics, Peking University, 2Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, 3Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences at Center for Quantitative Biology, Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Peking University