In this collaborative project novel microfluidic devices are developed to objectively assess and monitor food produce and food product quality. This is done by exposing and monitoring the response of cells expressing recombinant G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) developed at Plant Research International (Wageningen, The Netherlands). G protein-coupled receptors are transmembrane proteins that recognize specific molecules and which play a key role in, amongst others, smell and taste perception. Activation of the signal transduction pathway can be measured in vitro with for example fluorescence spectrometry.
Within the project Micronit is developing resealable flow cells in which the cells are cultured before exposing them to the samples to be tested. First cells are seeded and incubated on glass slides to grow a monolayer. Subsequently the slide and a glass cover equipped with through holes and an elastomer seal is placed inside a holder that clamps the parts creating the flow cell through which culture medium and samples are pumped. Furthermore, Micronit investigates means to heat the flow cell to a temperature that is optimal for the cells using for example resistive heaters made from transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) deposited on the glass.
Detailed information of the use of resealable flow cells for this this type of application has been published in: “A generic microfluidic biosensor of G protein-coupled receptor activation—monitoring cytoplasmic [Ca2+] changes in human HEK293 cells”, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 47, 2013, p. 436-444
This work is supported by NanoNextNL, a micro and nanotechnology consortium of the Government of the Netherlands and 130 partners.