On-chip multiplexed single-cell patterning and controllable intracellular delivery

Zaizai Dong, Yanli Jiao, Bingteng Xie, Yongcun Hao, Pan Wang, Yuanyuan Liu, Junfeng Shi, Chandani Chitrakar, Stephen Black, Yu Chieh Wang, L. James Lee, Mo Li, Yubo Fan, Lingqian Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Conventional electroporation approaches show limitations in the delivery of macromolecules in vitro and in vivo. These limitations include low efficiency, noticeable cell damage and nonuniform delivery of cells. Here, we present a simple 3D electroporation platform that enables massively parallel single-cell manipulation and the intracellular delivery of macromolecules and small molecules. A pyramid pit micropore array chip was fabricated based on a silicon wet-etching method. A controllable vacuum system was adopted to trap a single cell on each micropore. Using this chip, safe single-cell electroporation was performed at low voltage. Cargoes of various sizes ranging from oligonucleotides (molecular beacons, 22 bp) to plasmid DNA (CRISPR-Cas9 expression vectors, >9 kb) were delivered into targeted cells with a significantly higher transfection efficiency than that of multiple benchmark methods (e.g., commercial electroporation devices and Lipofectamine). The delivered dose of the chemotherapeutic drug could be controlled by adjusting the applied voltage. By using CRISPR-Cas9 transfection with this system, the p62 gene and CXCR7 gene were knocked out in tumor cells, which effectively inhibited their cellular activity. Overall, this vacuum-assisted micropore array platform provides a simple, efficient, high-throughput intracellular delivery method that may facilitate on-chip cell manipulation, intracellular investigation and cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalMicrosystems and Nanoengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


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