High-Throughput DNA Plasmid Multiplexing and Transfection Using Acoustic Nanodispensing Technology

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Cell transfection, indispensable for many biological studies, requires controlling many parameters for an accurate and successful achievement. Most often performed at low throughput, it is moreover time-consuming and error-prone, even more so when multiplexing several plasmids. We developed an easy, fast, and accurate method to perform cell transfection in a 384-well plate layout using acoustic droplet ejection (ADE) technology. The nanodispenser device used in this study is based on this technology and allows precise nanovolume delivery at high speed from a source well plate to a destination one. It can dispense and multiplex DNA and transfection reagent according to a predesigned spreadsheet. Here we present an optimal protocol to perform ADE-based high-throughput plasmid transfection which makes it possible to reach an efficiency of up to 90% and a nearly 100% cotransfection in cotransfection experiments. We extend initial work by proposing a user-friendly spreadsheet-based macro, able to manage up to four plasmids/wells from a library containing up to 1,536 different plasmids, and a tablet-based pipetting guide application. The macro designs the necessary template(s) of the source plate(s) and generates the ready-to-use files for the nanodispenser and tablet-based application. The four-steps transfection protocol involves i) a diluent dispense with a classical liquid handler, ii) plasmid distribution and multiplexing, iii) a transfection reagent dispense by the nanodispenser, and iv) cell plating on the prefilled wells. The described software-based control of ADE plasmid multiplexing and transfection allows even nonspecialists in the field to perform a reliable cell transfection in a fast and safe way. This method enables rapid identification of optimal settings for a given cell type and can be transposed to higher-scale and manual approaches. The protocol eases applications, such as human ORFeome protein (set of open reading frames [ORFs] in a genome) expression or CRISPR-Cas9-based gene function validation, in nonpooled screening strategies.