The lack of a patterned substrate (surface) hinders the study of cell differentiation, cell migration, and apoptosis. When printing a single stem cell, it is difficult to print a single cell let alone have a signaling protein positioned close enough to create a microenvironment.
The Nano eNabler system provides a solution for a number of interesting experiments because it uses a patterned substrate. It prints a spot-size that allows patterning at sub-cellular distances. The Nano eNabler printer also combines the flexibility of a direct protein writing approach with speed of delivery.
Patterned substrates can be used for the study of fundamental phenomena and advance important applications. Stem cell, cancer, neuroscience, and tissue engineering can benefit from the Nano eNabler technology. The printer can be used to deliver small volumes of protein solution (10-15 – 10-18) through a direct writing process, at a high speed of ~100 ms/droplet. Usage of spots of ECM proteins to anchor a cell in place while an adjacent spot of a signaling protein induces a signal transduction cascade within the cell.
Researchers can print spots of signaling proteins to create a microenvironment that could direct the differentiation or proliferation of a single cell. Using the Nano eNabler system, it would be possible to create gradients of spots/lines on a surface to study cell migration.
Precision of Printing
Computer controlled translation allows arbitrary patterns of spots to be written to a surface. Multiplexing allows the deposition of multi-component patterns thus enabling the study of compositionally complex signaling. The method is non-destructive, thus preserving the protein function.
The Nano eNabler system can be used with surfaces ranging from glass to polymers. Validated surfaces include: glass, silanes, silicon, gold, alkanethiol SAMs, polymers, hydrogel, PDMS, nitrocellulose. Both flat and 3D surfaces can be patterned, the latter playing sometime a critical role in cell differentiation.
• The Nano eNabler system offers flexibility the printing with high mask costs can not match.
• This printing technique is faster and offers parallel writing than other printing systems and
• Better alignment than microcontact printing.
• No clogging like found with nanopipettes.