A cell in vivo lives in a community, and understands its fate by interacting with other cells. It learns its position, characteristics and roles by cellular signals such as extracellular matrix, cytokine, hormone and other secretions. Even though cell-to-cell interaction is considered most critical in cellular events, its complexity has been the main obstacle for us to study details. In this respect, we need to simplify the study of cellular interaction by limiting the number of associating cells. Also a long-time observation is required to provide affluent information, because cellular event has various time spans ranging from seconds to days. For these purposes, we present a microfluidic platform for single-cell to single-cell interaction study. For a long-term culture, this microfluidic chip could maintain single cell level communication within isolated environment and continuous media supply without disturbing the cell culture chamber.The device also mimics in-vivo tissue and blood vein system with the defined region of perfusion channel and static culture chamber. For effective single cell capture, cell morphology change is utilized to activate the open and close state of the trapping gap. Along microfluidic channels, hundreds of cell culture chambers are posed for high-throughput,heterogeneous cellular signaling anaylsis. As the first demonstration, we performed sequential trapping and co-culture of fibroblast and mouse embryonic stem cell. High efficiency trapping (> 70%) and single-cell pairing (>50%) was achieved. We observed the change of survival and migration interaction of the two cell types over long time of co-culture as single cells.. We believe that this platform has potentials in advanced studies of cell communication; moreover, loading of functionalized microbeads could give rise to the analysis of single cell signaling factors.
Project end date: 02/01/12