Fully Automated Fluidic System to Sort, Dose, Microinject, and Collect Cells

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Fully Automated Fluidic System to Sort, Dose, Microinject, and Collect Cells

S F Graf 1, R Li 2, A Lachaud 2, C Chesné 2, H F Knapp 1
1Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique, Alpnach Center, Switzerland
2Bioprédic International, Rennes, France

Microinjection is still one of the most effective transfection methods in terms of cell damage and cell viability. Unfortunately, it suffers from a small throughput and large variation in success rate because each step, i.e. cell sorting, immobilizing, injecting and collecting are still tedious manual procedures. To overcome these drawbacks, a fully automated minifluidic device for microinjection of cells including a cell sorter combined with a microinjection carousel was developed. The complete system enables to minimize manual interaction to simply providing a suspension of cells and a loaded microinjection needle. The system then automatically sorts and individualizes the cells, immobilizes and microinjects them, and finally collects the microinjected cells in a separate container or places them in the individual wells of a multi well plate for subsequent processing. The complete process, including sorting, immobilizing, injecting, and collecting a cell, is currently performed within 4 seconds for Xenopus laevis oocytes, enabling to prepare a typical batch of 400 microinjected oocytes in less than 30 minutes. Compared to the current two days of the manual approach, this 32-fold increase of speed will enable researchers to concentrate on the characterization phase of their experiments and to increase the statistical value of their results.