Efficient intracellular delivery of target macromolecules remains a major obstacle in cell engineering and other biomedical applications. We discovered a unique cell biophysical phenomenon of transient cell volume exchange using microfluidics to rapidly and repeatedly compress cells. This behavior consists of brief, mechanically induced cell volume loss followed by rapid volume recovery. We harness this behavior for high-throughput, convective intracellular delivery of large polysaccharides (2000?kDa), particles (100?nm), and plasmids while maintaining high cell viability. Successful proof of concept experiments in transfection and intracellular labeling demonstrated potential to overcome the most prohibitive challenges in intracellular delivery for cell engineering.

Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2018.03.002