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In Situ RNA Expression Analysis Using Two-Photon Laser Lysis (2PLL) and Microfluidic RT-qPCR

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A major goal of the Center for Biosignatures Discovery Automation (CBDA) is to design a diagnostic tool that detects novel cancer biosignatures at the single-cell level. We designed the

A major goal of the Center for Biosignatures Discovery Automation (CBDA) is to design a diagnostic tool that detects novel cancer biosignatures at the single-cell level. We designed the Single-cell QUantitative In situ Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (SQUIRT-PCR) system by combining a two-photon laser lysis (2PLL) system with a microfluidic reverse transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) platform. It is important to identify early molecular changes from intact tissues as prognosis for premalignant conditions and develop new molecular targets for prevention of cancer progression and improved therapies. This project analyzes RNA expression at the single-cell level and presents itself with two major challenges: (1) detecting low levels of RNA and (2) minimizing RNA absorption in the polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic channel. The first challenge was overcome by successfully detecting picogram (pg) levels of RNA using the Fluidigm (FD) BioMark™ HD System (Fluidigm Corporation, South San Francisco, CA) for RT-qPCR analysis. This technology incorporates a highly precise integrated fluidic circuit (IFC) that allows for high-throughput genetic screening using microarrays. The second challenge entailed collecting data from RNA flow-through samples that were passed through microfluidic channels. One channel was treated with a coating of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and the other remained untreated. Various flow-through samples were subjected to RT-qPCR and analyzed using the FD FLEXsix™ Gene Expression IFC. As predicted, the results showed that the treated PDMS channel absorbed less RNA than the untreated PDMS channel. Once the optimization of the PDMS microfluidic platform is complete, it will be implemented into the 2PLL system. This novel technology will be able to identify cell populations in situ and could have a large impact on cancer diagnostics.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05