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Biophys J. 2016 Jun 21;110(12):2769-2778. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2016.05.011.

Regulating the Membrane Transport Activity and Death of Cells via Electroosmotic Manipulation.

Author information

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; HKU-Shenzhen Institute of Research and Innovation (HKU-SIRI), Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.
3
Department of Clinical Oncology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China.
4
Bioengineering Graduate Program, Biomedical Engineering Division, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR, China.
5
Bioengineering Graduate Program, Biomedical Engineering Division, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR, China; Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR, China.
6
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China. Electronic address: hwngan@hku.hk.
7
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; HKU-Shenzhen Institute of Research and Innovation (HKU-SIRI), Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. Electronic address: ylin@hku.hk.

Abstract

Although the volume of living cells has been known to heavily influence their behavior and fate, a method allowing us to control the cell size in a programmable manner is still lacking. Here, we develop a technique in which precise changes in the cellular volume can be conveniently introduced by varying the voltage applied across a Nafion membrane that separates the culture medium from a reservoir. It is found that, unlike sudden osmotic shocks, active ion transport across the membrane of leukemia K562 cells will not be triggered by a gradual change in the extracellular osmolarity. Furthermore, when subjected to the same applied voltage, different lung and nasopharyngeal epithelial cancer cells will undergo larger volumetric changes and have a 5-10% higher death rate compared to their normal counterparts. We show that such distinct response is largely caused by the overexpression of aquaporin-4 in tumor cells, with knockout of this water channel protein resulting in a markedly reduced change in the cellular volume. Finally, by taking into account the exchange of water/ion molecules across the Nafion film and the cell membrane, a theoretical model is also proposed to describe the voltage-induced size changes of cells, which explain our experimental observations very well.

PMID:
27332135
PMCID:
PMC4919594
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2016.05.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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