The task of rapid detection and identification of bacteria remains a major challenge in both medicine and industry. This work introduces a new concept for the design of self-reporting optical structures that can detect and quantify bacteria in real-time. The sensor is based on a two-dimensional periodic structure of porous Si photonic crystals in which the pore size is adjusted to fit the target bacteria cells (Escherichia coli). Spontaneous bacteria capture within the pores induces measurable changes in the zero-order reflectivity spectrum collected from the periodic structure. Confocal laser microscopy and electron microscopy confirm that the Escherichia coli cells are individually imprisoned within the porous array. A simple model is suggested to correlate the optical readout and the bacteria concentration and its predictions are found to be in good agreement with experimental results. In addition, we demonstrate that sensing scheme can be easily modified to potentially allow monitoring of concentration, growth and physiological state of bacteria cells. This generic platform can be tailored to target different microorganisms by tuning the array periodicity and its surface chemistry for rapid and label-free detection outside the laboratory environment.
Recently it has been shown that decreasing the extracellular pH of cells stimulates the formation of inward membrane invaginations and vesicles, accompanied by an enhanced uptake of macromolecules. This type of endocytosis was coined as proton-induced uptake (PIU). Though the initial induction of inward membrane curvature was rationalized in terms of proton-based increase of charge asymmetry across the membrane, the dependence of the phenomenon on plasma membrane characteristics is still unknown. The present study shows that depolarization of the membrane resting potential elevates PIU by 25%, while hyperpolarization attenuates it by 25%. Comparison of uptake in suspended and adherent cells implicates that the resting-potential affects PIU through remodeling the actin-cytoskeleton. The pH at the external interface of the cell membrane rather than the pH gradient across it determines the extent of PIU. PIU increases linearly upon temperature increase in the range of 4-36°C, in correlation with the membrane fluidity. The plasma membrane fluidity and the lipid phase order are modulated by enriching the cells membrane with cholesterol, tergitol, dimethylsulfoxide, 6-ketocholestanol and phloretin and by cholesterol depletion. These treatments are shown to alter the extent of PIU and are better correlated with membrane fluidity than with the lipid phase order. We suggest that the lipid phase order and fluidity influence PIU by regulating the lipid order gradient across the perimeter of the lipid-condensed microdomains (rafts) and alter the characteristic tension line that separates the higher ordered lipid-domains from the lesser ordered ones.
Physiological electric fields are involved in many biological processes and known to elicit their effects during long exposures ranging from a few hours to days. Following exposure to electric fields of physiological amplitude, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was demonstrated to be redistributed and upregulated with further intracellular signaling such as the MAPK signaling cascade. In our study we demonstrated EGFR activation and signaling induced by short train of pulsed low electric field (LEF) (10V/cm, pulse-width 180?s, 500Hz, 2min) in serum-free medium, following 24-hour starvation, and in the absence of exogenous EGF ligand, suggesting a ligand-independent pathway for EGFR activation. This ligandless activation was further confirmed by using neutralizing antibodies (LA1) that block the EGFR ligand-binding site. EGFR activation was found to be EGFR kinase dependent, yet with no dimerization following exposure to LEF. ERK activation was found to be mainly a result of EGFR downstream signaling though it partially occurred via EGFR-independent way. We demonstrate that reactive oxygen species and especially decrease in pH generated during exposure to LEF are involved in EGFR ligandless activation. We propose a possible mechanism for the LEF-induced EGFR ligand-independent activation and show activation of other receptor tyrosine kinases following exposure to LEF.
Recently it has been shown that elevating proton concentration at the cell surface stimulates the formation of membrane invaginations and vesicles accompanied by an enhanced uptake of macromolecules. While the initial induction of inward membrane curvature was rationalized in terms of proton-based increase of charge asymmetry across the membrane, the mechanisms underlying vesicle formation and its scission are still unknown. In light of the critical role of actin in vesicle formation during endocytosis, the present study addresses the involvement of cytoskeletal actin in proton-induced uptake (PIU). The uptake of dextran-FITC is used as a measure for the factual fraction of inward invaginations that undergo scission from the cells plasma membrane. Our findings show that the rate of PIU in suspended cells is constant, whereas the rate of PIU in adherent cells is gradually increased in time, saturating at the level possessed by suspended cells. This is consistent with pH induced gradual degradation of stress-fibers in adherent cells. Wortmannin and calyculin-A are able to elevate PIU by 25% in adherent cells but not in suspended cells, while cytochalasin-D, rapamycin and latrunculin-A elevate PIU both in adherent and suspended cells. However, extensive actin depolymerization by high concentrations of latrunculin-A is able to inhibit PIU. We conclude that proton-induced membrane vesiculation is restricted by the actin structural resistance to the plasma membrane bending. Nevertheless, a certain degree of cortical actin restructuring is required for the completion of the scission process.
The present study suggests a sensitive and rapid cell analysis method to evaluate the oxidative stress produced in a physiological culture medium, by anodic electrochemical products. The detection of these oxidizing agents, probably involving hypochlorite, is carried out by measuring the presence of an oxidized tryptophan intermediate, entrapped and stabilized in the cell cytoplasm. The formation of this tryptophan intermediate depends solely on the presence of a free tryptophan in the extracellular medium near the anode. This intermediate possesses a characteristic emission maximum at ?~560 nm, which can be abolished by the presence of anti-oxidants in the media during the cells exposure to electric current. However, this intermediates emission is unaffected by increased concentrations of intracellular anti-oxidants. This suggests that the anodic produced unstable tryptophan intermediate permeates the cell plasma membrane and becomes stabilized by cytoplasmic proteins. Tryptophan oxidative intermediates with similar spectra could also be formed by the chemical reaction of hypochlorite with tryptophan in solution. The analysis of the intracellularly stabilized tryptophan intermediate by flow cytometry can be used for measuring external oxidation stress without the disturbance of intracellular anti-oxidative capacity.
The different pathways of endocytosis share an initial step involving local inward curvature of the cells lipid bilayer. It has been shown that to generate membrane curvature, proteins or lipids enforce transversal asymmetry of the plasma membrane. Thus it emerges as a general phenomenon that transversal membrane asymmetry is the common required element for the formation of membrane curvature. The present study demonstrates that elevating proton concentration at the cell surface stimulates the formation of membrane invaginations and vesiculation accompanied by efficient uptake of macromolecules (Dextran-FITC, 70 kD), relative to the constitutive one. The insensitivity of proton induced uptake to inhibiting treatments and agents of the known endocytic pathways suggests the entry of macromolecules to proceeds via a yet undefined route. This is in line with the fact that neither ATP depletion, nor the lowering of temperature, abolishes the uptake process. In addition, fusion mechanism such as associated with low pH uptake of toxins and viral proteins can be disregarded by employing the polysaccharide dextran as the uptake molecule. The proton induced uptake increases linearly in the extracellular pH range of 6.5 to 4.5, and possesses a steep increase at the range of 4> pH>3, reaching a plateau at pH ? 3. The kinetics of the uptake implies that the induced vesicles release their content to the cytosol and undergo rapid recycling to the plasma membrane. We suggest that protonation of the cells surface induces local charge asymmetries across the cell membrane bilayer, inducing inward curvature of the cell membrane and consequent vesiculation and uptake.
Electroendocytosis involves the exposure of cells to pulsed low electric field and is emerging as a complementary method to electroporation for the incorporation of macromolecules into cells. The present study explores the underlying mechanism of electroendocytosis and its dependence on electrochemical byproducts formed at the electrode interface. Cell suspensions were exposed to pulsed low electric field in a partitioned device where cells are spatially restricted relative to the electrodes. The cellular uptake of dextran-FITC was analyzed by flow cytometery and visualized by confocal microscopy. We first show that uptake occurs only in cells adjacent to the anode. The enhanced uptake near the anode is found to depend on electric current density rather than on electric field strength, in the range of 5 to 65 V/cm. Electrochemically produced oxidative species that impose intracellular oxidative stress, do not play any role in the stimulated uptake. An inverse dependence is found between electrically induced uptake and the solutions buffer capacity. Electroendocytosis can be mimicked by chemically acidifying the extracellular solution which promotes the enhanced uptake of dextran polymers and the uptake of plasmid DNA. Electrochemical production of protons at the anode interface is responsible for inducing uptake of macromolecules into cells exposed to a pulsed low electric field. Expanding the understanding of the mechanism involved in electric fields induced drug-delivery into cells, is expected to contribute to clinical therapy applications in the future.
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