Using buoyant mass to measure the growth of single cells

Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA.
Nature Methods (Impact Factor: 25.95). 04/2010; 7(5):387-90. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1452
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We used a suspended microchannel resonator (SMR) combined with picoliter-scale microfluidic control to measure buoyant mass and determine the 'instantaneous' growth rates of individual cells. The SMR measures mass with femtogram precision, allowing rapid determination of the growth rate in a fraction of a complete cell cycle. We found that for individual cells of Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and mouse lymphoblasts, heavier cells grew faster than lighter cells.

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Available from: Alan D Grossman, Feb 03, 2014
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    • "In dynamic mode, trampoline resonators can monitor mass changes during cell growth and division [3]; hollow cantilevers with embedded nanochannels can quantify cell growth by measuring the buoyant mass [4]. Toward developing very high frequency (VHF) resonators that are easy to fabricate yet high performance in biofluids, very limited types of devices have been explored, because the cell-living environment imposes not only significant mass loading (much lower frequency and smaller signal) and viscous damping (much lower quality (Q) factor), but also great challenges on choosing material (chemically inert and biocompatible), designing robust resonating structure, and finding actuation/detection scheme that is compatible with conductive biosolutions while reasonably minimizing structure complexity. "
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    • "However, the nature of any size-adjusting mechanism that would drive this size-asymmetry detection and correction mechanism remains elusive. It is not known whether, for example, it would relate to cell volume (Tzur et al., 2009), mass (Park et al., 2010; Sung et al., 2013), or density (Godin et al., 2010; Grover et al., 2011; Son et al., 2012). "
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    • "Furthermore, the size dependency of cell growth was studied using the SPM measurements and the Collins-Richmond model [67], [68]. For all three cell types presented, the growth rate was found to be increasing as the cell mass increased, following the exponential growth model of cell growth [68], [69]. These results suggest the existence of a size-regulator that controls the cell cycle in the process of cell growth. "
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