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Biophys J. 2007 Aug 15;93(4):1163-74. Epub 2007 May 18.

"Nanosized voltmeter" enables cellular-wide electric field mapping.

Author information

1
Toxicology Program and Chemistry Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105, USA.

Abstract

Previously, all biological measurements of intracellular electric fields (E fields), using voltage dyes or patch/voltage clamps, were confined to cellular membranes, which account for <0.1% of the total cellular volume. These membrane-dependent techniques also frequently require lengthy calibration steps for each cell or cell type measured. A new 30-nm "photonic voltmeter", 1000-fold smaller than existing voltmeters, enables, to our knowledge, the first complete three-dimensional E field profiling throughout the entire volume of living cells. These nanodevices are calibrated externally and then applied for E field determinations inside any live cell or cellular compartment, with no further calibration steps. The results indicate that the E fields from the mitochondrial membranes penetrate much deeper into the cytosol than previously estimated, indicating that, electrically, the cytoplasm cannot be described as a simple homogeneous solution, as often approximated, but should rather be thought of as a complex, heterogeneous hydrogel, with distinct microdomains.

PMID:
17513359
PMCID:
PMC1929021
DOI:
10.1529/biophysj.106.092452
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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