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Force-controlled patch clamp of beating cardiac cells

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Ossola Dario, Amarouch Mohamed Yassine, Behr Pascal, Vörös János, Abriel Hugues, Zambelli Tomaso,
Project Force-controlled patch clamp (pc-FluidFM)
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Nano Letters
Volume (Issue) 15
Page(s) 1743
Title of proceedings Nano Letters
DOI 10.1021/nl504438z


From its invention in the 1970s, the patch clamp technique is the gold standard in electrophysiology research and drug screening since it is the only tool enabling accurate investigation of voltage-gated ion channels, which are responsible for action potentials. Because of its key role in drug screening, innovation efforts are being made to reduce its complexity towards more automated systems. While some of these new approaches are being adopted in pharmaceutical companies, conventional patch-clamp remains unmatched in fundamental research due to its versatility. Here, we merged the patch clamp and atomic force microscope (AFM) techniques, thus equipping the patch-clamp with the sensitive AFM force control. This was possible using the FluidFM, a force-controlled nano-pipette based on microchanneled AFM cantilevers. First the compatibility of the system with patch-clamp electronics and its ability to record the activity of voltage-gated ion channels in whole-cell configuration was demonstrated with sodium (NaV1.5) channels. Second we showed the feasibility of simultaneous recording of membrane current and force development during contraction of isolated cardiomyocytes. Force feedback allowed for a gentle and stable contact between AFM tip and cell membrane enabling serial patch clamping and injection without apparent cell damage.