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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27677. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027677. Epub 2011 Nov 16.

Photoporation of biomolecules into single cells in living vertebrate embryos induced by a femtosecond laser amplifier.

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Graduate School of Materials Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara, Japan.


Introduction of biomolecules into cells in living animals is one of the most important techniques in molecular and developmental biology research, and has potentially broad biomedical implications. Here we report that biomolecules can be introduced into single cells in living vertebrate embryos by photoporation using a femtosecond laser amplifier with a high pulse energy and a low repetition rate. First, we confirmed the efficiency of this photoporation technique by introducing dextran, morpholino oligonucleotides, or DNA plasmids into targeted single cells of zebrafish, chick, shark, and mouse embryos. Second, we demonstrated that femtosecond laser irradiation efficiently delivered DNA plasmids into single neurons of chick embryos. Finally, we successfully manipulated the fate of single neurons in zebrafish embryos by delivering mRNA. Our observations suggest that photoporation using a femtosecond laser with a high pulse energy and low repetition rate offers a novel way to manipulate the function(s) of individual cells in a wide range of vertebrate embryos by introduction of selected biomolecules.

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