Friday, 9 March 2018

Lab-on-a-chip for tracking single bacterial cells

Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, together with researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Dresden, have set up a novel lab-on-a-chip with accompanying automatic analysis software.

Using the new system the researchers can now study precisely how genes are regulated in single cells under changing environmental conditions. This way, they do not only gain insights into gene regulatory processes but also an overview of the diversity of adaptive responses of bacteria to varying environments.

For example, it is possible to investigate how individual bacterial cells respond to a sudden exposure to an antibiotic: whether they die, stop growing, or simply continue to divide undisturbed. It is also possible to observe the antibiotic's increasing effect duration on the cells. This is important to understand why antibiotics do not always kill all pathogens.


Matthias Kaiser, Florian Jug, Thomas Julou, Siddharth Deshpande, Thomas Pfohl, Olin K. Silander, Gene Myers, Erik van Nimwegen. Monitoring single-cell gene regulation under dynamically controllable conditions with integrated microfluidics and softwareNature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02505-0

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Special offers