Full Name:  Eric Thorand
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Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences and Institute of Cell Biology
Daniel Rutherford Building
King's Buildings


Project title: Microfluidic platform for mechano-investigation of single plant cells

Project outline:
Within a tissue, cells divide, expand and differentiate in response to their mechanical environment. In plants, mechanical cues at the tissue level have been shown to direct morphogenesis by controlling the direction of cell division and growth and developmental decision-making. Given the myriad of chemical signals that are present within a tissue context, tissue-level studies are often inconclusive in determining the role of mechanical cues as direct drivers. We have developed a versatile single cell platform for mechano-biological investigations, by combining microfluidic technology with single plant cell preparation. The platform we developed allows precise chemical and mechanical treatments and simultaneous microscopic observation of dynamic responses. For example, our single cell trap captures heterogeneous cell behaviours over time. The drug applicator allows us to monitor cell responses to different chemical stimuli, and the cell squeezer to apply controlled mechanical compression. As a pilot study we are quantifying the cell responses to rapid changes in osmotic environment and corresponding changes in cellular mechanics, such as cell membrane deformation and changes in osmotic pressure.

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A confocal max. intensity projection of a protoplast (plant cell without a cell wall) with GFP-marker in a microfluidic trap 

List of conferences:

The Biophysical Society Annual Meeting 2016 (Los Angeles) Poster session