New Laser Technology Enables Non-Invasive Micromanipulation in Living Cells
Researchers are celebrating a breakthrough in biotechnology research, as scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics developed a new laser technology that allows cells to be manipulated without damaging the sample. The technology, which has been licensed to Rapp OptoElectronic, targets the density and viscosity of liquid in the cytoplasm (the fluid inside cells), causing a flow through the induction of a thermal field.
Previously, manipulating cells could damage the sample, but FLUCS (Focused Light-induced Cytoplasmic Streaming) now allows researchers to perform non-invasive changes within living cells and embryos, enabling insights into developmental disorders. In developmental biology, for example, researchers can use FLUCS-generated movements to invert PAR proteins, affecting the embryo’s development.
Market-Ready Product with Diverse Applications
Rapp OptoElectronic has made FLUCS available to global researchers and industrial users. The technology can be integrated and used as an add-on module to high-resolution microscopes, and the pilot system is situated in the LMF (Light Microscopy Facility) at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden.
The scope of applications for FLUCS is broad, covering biotechnology, medical research, and microfluidics. In biotechnology, artificial cytoplasmic currents can examine important signaling pathways. In medical research, FLUCS-generated movements can reveal molecular mechanisms in cell signaling. In microfluidics, observing liquid quantities in the micro or picoliter range can help in the development of new laboratory methods.
Optical tweezers, a conventional method of cell manipulation, requires modification of the sample before interacting with the individual components. The recent breakthrough with FLUCS ensures that biomolecules can still interact freely within the environment.
The breakthrough with FLUCS is revolutionary for the biotechnology industry, providing a non-invasive methodology for manipulating living cells and embryos for clearer insight into developmental disorders. The technology will enable new areas of research and will lead to a better understanding of biological processes.
The licensing of FLUCS and its availability as a market-ready product marks a significant turning point for the biotechnology industry. FLUCS’s non-invasive manipulation of living cells and embryos will lead to new areas of research and a better understanding of biological processes. Its broad scope of applications means that FLUCS-generated movements and observations will have many benefits that have yet to be uncovered.