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Anal Biochem. 1987 Jul;164(1):44-52.

Electroporation: parameters affecting transfer of DNA into mammalian cells.

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McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


Electroporation, the reversible breakdown of cell membranes caused by a high-voltage discharge, is a rapid, simple, and efficient method for introducing DNA into mammalian cells. An instrument for electroporation which permits the high-voltage discharge waveform to be varied with respect to rise time, peak voltage, and fall time is described. The uptake and expression of SV40 DNA following electroporation of two cell types, a human carcinoma-derived cell line, HEp-2, and a human lymphoblastoid cell line, 721, depended on the peak voltage and the fall time of the voltage discharge. The electronic parameters which produced optimum DNA transfer, however, differed for the two cell types. DNA as large as 150 kb was introduced into cells by electroporation. Cells can be electroporated in either phosphate-buffered saline or culture medium containing fetal bovine serum, and the efficiency of DNA transfer does not vary with cell densities from 10(6) to 2 X 10(7)/0.5 ml. Exposing the cells to multiple voltage discharges did not improve DNA transfer. DNA has been introduced by electroporation into all cell types tested, including human carcinoma-derived cell lines, human lymphoblastoid cell lines, human fibroblast strains, and primary human lymphocytes. To obtain maximal DNA transfer by this method, however, one must optimize the peak voltage and fall time of the discharge waveform for each cell type.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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