Dependence of dielectrophoretic forces on membrane proteins

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Pavel Fikar, V. Babuska, V. Georgiev, D. Georgiev

University of West Bohemia and ESIEE Paris, Czech Republic

Dynamic response characteristics are a cornerstone of system design and control yet related tools are lacking. Time-lapse microscopy of individual cells expressing synthetic reporter proteins represents one of the only tools capable of making dynamic measurements. Disadvantages of time-lapse microscopy are limited throughput and photobleaching. Herein we explore changes in dielectrophoretic forces caused by changes in expression of membrane proteins in S. cerevisiae. Dielectrophoresis is proven in medium throughput experiments and is not subject to protein damage permitting longer exposure times and more sensitive measurements. Hence, the described changes potentially enable dynamic measurements of gene expression and subsequently the development of tools that better meet the engineering needs. Theoretical and FEM models were simulated and the results were investigated in detail. Linear dependence of the first crossover frequency in the dielectrophoretic response on membrane protein concentration was revealed. Several microfluidic experiments were designed to confirm the theoretical expectations.