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Recent progress in the physics of microfluidics and related biotechnological applications
Patrick Tabeling
Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. - -25 129-34 - 10.1016/j.copbio.2013.11.009 - 2014
Since the mid-nineties, the physical understanding of microfluidic flows has reached a level sufficiently elaborate for envisaging applications in all sorts of domains. As the domain expanded, the existence of new situations where fluid dynamics at small or moderate Reynolds numbers combines with confinement, interfaces, transport, particles along with disordered substrates raised new challenges. The present review is restricted to three domains in which progress in the physical description has been made recently (droplet-based, inertial and paper-based microfluidics) and for which biotechnological applications are foreseeable.
Physics and technological aspects of nanofluidics
Lydéric Bocquet et Patrick Tabeling
Lab. Chip - 14 3143–3158 - DOI: 10.1039/c4lc00325j - 2014
From a physical perspective, nanofluidics represents an extremely rich domain. It hosts many mechanisms acting on the nanoscale, which combine together or interact with the confinement to generate new phenomena. Superfast flows in carbon nanotubes, nonlinear electrokinetic transport, slippage over smooth surfaces, nanobubble stability, etc. are the most striking phenomena that have been unveiled over the past few years, and some of them are still awaiting an explanation. One may anticipate that new nanofluidic effects will be discovered in the future, but at the moment, the technological barrier is high. Fabrication of nanochannels is most often a tour de force, slow and costly. However, with the accumulation of technological skills along with the use of new nanofluidic materials (like nanotubes), nanofluidics is becoming increasingly accessible to experimentalists. Among the technological challenges faced by the field, fabricating devices mimicking natural nanometric systems, such as aquaporins, ionic pumps or kidney osmotic filtering, seems the most demanding in terms of groundbreaking ideas. Nanoflow characterization remains delicate, although considerable progress has been achieved over the past years. The targeted application of nanofluidics is not only in the field of genomics and membrane science - with disruptive developments to be expected for water purification, desalination, and energy harvesting - but also for oil and gas production from unconventional reservoirs. Today, in view of the markets that are targeted, nanofluidics may well impact the industry more than microfluidics; this would represent an unexpected paradox. These successes rely on using a variety of materials and technologies, using state-of-the-art nanofabrication, or low-tech inexpensive approaches. As a whole, nanofluidics is a fascinating field that is facing considerable challenges today. It possesses a formidable potential and offers much space for creative groundbreaking ideas.
Interplay of RhoA and mechanical forces in collective cell migration driven by leader cells
M. Reffay, M. C. Parrini, O. Cochet-Escartin, B. Ladoux, A. Buguin, S. Coscoy, F. Amblard, J. Camonis and P. Silberzan
Nat. Cell Biol. - 16 (2014) 217–223 - DOI:10.1038/ncb2917 - 2014
The leading front of a collectively migrating epithelium often destabilizes into multicellular migration fingers where a cell initially similar to the others becomes a leader cell while its neighbours do not alter. The determinants of these leader cells include mechanical and biochemical cues, often under the control of small GTPases. However, an accurate dynamic cartography of both mechanical and biochemical activities remains to be established. Here, by mapping the mechanical traction forces exerted on the surface by MDCK migration fingers, we show that these structures are mechanical global entities with the leader cells exerting a large traction force. Moreover, the spatial distribution of RhoA differential activity at the basal plane strikingly mirrors this force cartography. We propose that RhoA controls the development of these fingers through mechanical cues: the leader cell drags the structure and the peripheral pluricellular acto-myosin cable prevents the initiation of new leader cells.
How to control proteins with light in living systems
Gautier A., Gauron C., Volovitch M., Bensimon D., Jullien L. and Vriz S.
Nature Chemical Biology - 10 (2014) 33–541 - DOI::10.1038/nchembio.1534 - 2014
The possibility offered by photocontrolling the activity of biomolecules in vivo while recording physiological parameters is opening up new opportunities for the study of physiological processes at the single-cell level in a living organism. For the last decade, such tools have been mainly used in neuroscience, and their application in freely moving animals has revolutionized this field. New photochemical approaches enable the control of various cellular processes by manipulating a wide range of protein functions in a noninvasive way and with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution. We are at a pivotal moment where biologists can adapt these cutting-edge technologies to their system of study. This user-oriented review presents the state of the art and highlights technical issues to be resolved in the near future for wide and easy use of these powerful approaches.
Photosensitive Polyamines for High-Performance Photocontrol of DNA Higher-Order Structure Venancio-Marques
Venancio-Marques, Anna, Bergen Anna, Rossi-Gendron Caroline, Rudiuk Sergii, and Baigl Damien
American Chemical Society Nano (ACS Nano) - Volume 8 (4) 3654–3663 - DOI: 10.1021/nn500266b - 2014
Polyamines are small, ubiquitous, positively charged molecules that play an essential role in numerous biological processes such as DNA packaging, gene regulation, neuron activity, and cell proliferation. Here, we synthesize the first series of photosensitive polyamines (PPAs) and demonstrate their ability to photoreversibly control nanoscale DNA higher-order structure with high efficiency. We show with fluorescence microscopy imaging that the efficiency of the PPAs as DNA-compacting agents is directly correlated to their molecular charge. Micromolar concentration of the most efficient molecule described here, a PPA containing three charges at neutral pH, compacts DNA molecules from a few kilobase pairs to a few hundred kilobase pairs, while subsequent 3 min UV illuminations at 365 nm triggers complete unfolding of DNA molecules. Additional application of blue light (440 nm for 3 min) induces the refolding of DNA into the compact state. Atomic force microscopy reveals that the compaction involves a global folding of the whole DNA molecule, whereas UV-induced unfolding is a modification initiated from the periphery of the compacted DNA, resulting in the occurrence of intermediate flower-like structures prior to the fully unfolded state.

Keywords: polyamines; DNA compaction; photocontrol; DNA; AFM; light
RACK1 controls IRES-mediated translation of viruses
Majzoub K., Hafirassou M.L, Meignin C., Goto A., Marzi S., Fedorova A., Verdier Y., Vinh J., Hoffmann J.A, Martin F., Baumert T.F, Schuster C., Imler J.L
Cell - 159(5) 1086-95 - DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.10.041 - 2014
Fighting viral infections is hampered by the scarcity of viral targets and their variability, resulting in development of resistance. Viruses depend on cellular molecules-which are attractive alternative targets-for their life cycle, provided that they are dispensable for normal cell functions. Using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, we identify the ribosomal protein RACK1 as a cellular factor required for infection by internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-containing viruses. We further show that RACK1 is an essential determinant for hepatitis C virus translation and infection, indicating that its function is conserved for distantly related human and fly viruses. Inhibition of RACK1 does not affect Drosophila or human cell viability and proliferation, and RACK1-silenced adult flies are viable, indicating that this protein is not essential for general translation. Our findings demonstrate a specific function for RACK1 in selective mRNA translation and uncover a target for the development of broad antiviral intervention.
Single-cell analysis and sorting using droplet-based microfluidics
Linas Mazutis, John Gilbert, W Lloyd Ung, David A Weitz, Andrew D Griffiths and John A Heyman
Nature Protocols - -8 870–891 - DOI: 10.1038/nprot.2013.046 - 2013
We present a droplet-based microfluidics protocol for high-throughput analysis and sorting of single cells. Compartmentalization of single cells in droplets enables the analysis of proteins released from or secreted by cells, thereby overcoming one of the major limitations of traditional flow cytometry and fluorescence-activated cell sorting. As an example of this approach, we detail a binding assay for detecting antibodies secreted from single mouse hybridoma cells. Secreted antibodies are detected after only 15 min by co-compartmentalizing single mouse hybridoma cells, a fluorescent probe and single beads coated with anti-mouse IgG antibodies in 50-pl droplets. The beads capture the secreted antibodies and, when the captured antibodies bind to the probe, the fluorescence becomes localized on the beads, generating a clearly distinguishable fluorescence signal that enables droplet sorting at ∼200 Hz as well as cell enrichment. The microfluidic system described is easily adapted for screening other intracellular, cell-surface or secreted proteins and for quantifying catalytic or regulatory activities. In order to screen ∼1 million cells, the microfluidic operations require 2–6 h; the entire process, including preparation of microfluidic devices and mammalian cells, requires 5–7 d.
Multiplex Picodroplet Digital PCR to Detect KRAS Mutations in Circulating DNA from the Plasma of Colorectal Cancer Patients
Valerie Taly, Deniz Pekin, Leonor Benhaim, Steve K. Kotsopoulos, Delphine Le Corre, Xinyu Li, Ivan Atochin, Darren R. Link, Andrew D. Griffiths, Karine Pallier, Hélène Blons, Olivier Bouche, Bruno Landi, J. Brian Hutchison, and Pierre Laurent-Puig
Clin. Chem. - 59(12) 1722-31 - DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2013.206359 - 2013
BACKGROUND: Multiplex digital PCR (dPCR) enables noninvasive and sensitive detection of circulating tumor DNA with performance unachievable by current molecular-detection approaches. Furthermore, picodroplet dPCR facilitates simultaneous screening for multiple mutations from the same sample.

METHODS: We investigated the utility of multiplex dPCR to screen for the 7 most common mutations in codons 12 and 13 of the KRAS (Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog) oncogene from plasma samples of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Fifty plasma samples were tested from patients for whom the primary tumor biopsy tissue DNA had been characterized by quantitative PCR.

RESULTS: Tumor characterization revealed that 19 patient tumors had KRAS mutations. Multiplex dPCR analysis of the plasma DNA prepared from these samples identified 14 samples that matched the mutation identified in the tumor, 1 sample contained a different KRAS mutation, and 4 samples had no detectable mutation. Among the tumor samples that were wild type for KRAS, 2 KRAS mutations were identified in the corresponding plasma samples. Duplex dPCR (i.e., wild-type and single-mutation assay) was also used to analyze plasma samples from patients with KRAS-mutated tumors and 5 samples expected to contain the BRAF (v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B) V600E mutation. The results for the duplex analysis matched those for the multiplex analysis for KRAS-mutated samples and, owing to its higher sensitivity, enabled detection of 2 additional samples with low levels of KRAS-mutated DNA. All 5 samples with BRAF mutations were detected.

CONCLUSIONS: This work demonstrates the clinical utility of multiplex dPCR to screen for multiple mutations simultaneously with a sensitivity sufficient to detect mutations in circulating DNA obtained by noninvasive blood collection.
Enhanced imine synthesis in water: from surfactantmediated catalysis to host–guest mechanisms
Kamel Meguellati, Ali Fallah-Araghi, Jean-Christophe Baret, Abdeslam El Harrak, Thomas Mangeat, Carlos M. Marques, Andrew D. Griffiths and Sylvain Ladame
Chem. Comm. - 49 11332-34 - DOI: 10.1039/C3CC46461J - 2013
An environment-responsive and fluorogenic reaction is reported and used as a model system to demonstrate experimentally three mechanisms of enhanced imine synthesis in water using either surfactants (below and above their CMC) or double-stranded DNA (acting as a reaction host).
New Glycosidase Substrates for Droplet-Based Microfluidic Screening
Majdi Najah, Estelle Mayot, Putu Mahendra-Wijaya, Andrew D. Griffiths, Sylvain Ladame, and Antoine Drevelle
Anal. Chem. - 85 (20) 9807–14 - DOI: 10.1021/ac4022709 - 2013
Droplet-based microfluidics is a powerful technique allowing ultra-high-throughput screening of large libraries of enzymes or microorganisms for the selection of the most efficient variants. Most applications in droplet microfluidic screening systems use fluorogenic substrates to measure enzymatic activities with fluorescence readout. It is important, however, that there is little or no fluorophore exchange between droplets, a condition not met with most commonly employed substrates. Here we report the synthesis of fluorogenic substrates for glycosidases based on a sulfonated 7-hydroxycoumarin scaffold. We found that the presence of the sulfonate group effectively prevents leakage of the coumarin from droplets, no exchange of the sulfonated coumarins being detected over 24 h at 30 °C. The fluorescence properties of these substrates were characterized over a wide pH range, and their specificity was studied on a panel of relevant glycosidases (cellulases and xylanases) in microtiter plates. Finally, the β-d-cellobioside-6,8-difluoro-7-hydroxycoumarin-4-methanesulfonate substrate was used to assay cellobiohydrolase activity on model bacterial strains (Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis) in a droplet-based microfluidic format. These new substrates can be used to assay glycosidase activities in a wide pH range (4–11) and with incubation times of up to 24 h in droplet-based microfluidic systems.

326 publications.