Abstract: This review compiles information regarding the use of alginate, and in particular alginate hydrogels, in culturing cells in 3D. Knowledge of alginate chemical structure and functionality are shown to be important parameters in design of alginate-based matrices for cell culture. Gel elasticity as well as hydrogel stability can be impacted by the type of alginate used, its concentration, the choice of gelation technique (ionic or covalent), and divalent cation chosen as the gel inducing ion. The use of peptide-coupled alginate can control cell–matrix interactions. Gelation of alginate with concomitant immobilization of cells can take various forms. Droplets or beads have been utilized since the 1980s for immobilizing cells. Newer matrices such as macroporous scaffolds are now entering the 3D cell culture product market. Finally, delayed gelling, injectable, alginate systems show utility in the translation of in vitro cell culture to in vivo tissue engineering applications. Alginate has a history and a future in 3D cell culture. Historically, cells were encapsulated in alginate droplets cross-linked with calcium for the development of artificial organs. Now, several commercial products based on alginate are being used as 3D cell culture systems that also demonstrate the possibility of replacing or regenerating tissue.
Abstract: Microarray technologies are state of the art in biological research, which requires fast genome, proteome and transcriptome analysis technologies. Often antibodies are applied in protein microarrays as proteomic tools. Since the generation of antibodies against toxic targets or small molecules including organic compounds remains challenging the use of antibodies may be limited in this context. In contrast to this, aptamer microarrays provide alternative techniques to circumvent these limitations. In this article we review the latest developments in aptamer microarray technology. We discuss similarities and differences between DNA and aptamer microarrays and shed light on the post synthesis immobilization of aptamers including corresponding effects on the microarray performance. Finally, we highlight current limitations and future prospects of aptamer microarray technology.
Abstract: Reverse Phase Protein Arrays (RPPA) represent a very promising sensitive and precise high-throughput technology for the quantitative measurement of hundreds of signaling proteins in biological and clinical samples. This array format allows quantification of one protein or phosphoprotein in multiple samples under the same experimental conditions at the same time. Moreover, it is suited for signal transduction profiling of small numbers of cultured cells or cells isolated from human biopsies, including formalin fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues. Owing to the much easier sample preparation, as compared to mass spectrometry based technologies, and the extraordinary sensitivity for the detection of low-abundance signaling proteins over a large linear range, RPPA have the potential for characterization of deregulated interconnecting protein pathways and networks in limited amounts of sample material in clinical routine settings. Current aspects of RPPA technology, including dilution curves, spotting, controls, signal detection, antibody validation, and calculation of protein levels are addressed.
Abstract: In this study we evaluate the capacity of Virtual Hybridization to identify between highly related bacterial strains. Eight genomic fingerprints were obtained by virtual hybridization for the Bacillus anthracis genome set, and a set of 15,264 13-nucleotide short probes designed to produce genomic fingerprints unique for each organism. The data obtained from each genomic fingerprint were used to obtain hybridization patterns simulating a DNA microarray. Two virtual hybridization methods were used: the Direct and the Extended method to identify the number of potential hybridization sites and thus determine the minimum sensitivity value to discriminate between genomes with 99.9% similarity. Genomic fingerprints were compared using both methods and phylogenomic trees were constructed to verify that the minimum detection value is 0.000017. Results obtained from the genomic fingerprints suggest that the distribution in the trees is correct, as compared to other taxonomic methods. Specific virtual hybridization sites for each of the genomes studied were also identified.
Abstract: One of the main challenges in drug development is the prediction of in vivo toxicity based on in vitro data. The standard cultivation system for primary human hepatocytes is based on monolayer cultures, even if it is known that these conditions result in a loss of hepatocyte morphology and of liver-specific functions, such as drug-metabolizing enzymes and transporters. As it has been demonstrated that hepatocytes embedded between two sheets of collagen maintain their function, various hydrogels and scaffolds for the 3D cultivation of hepatocytes have been developed. To further improve or maintain hepatic functions, 3D cultivation has been combined with perfusion. In this manuscript, we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of different 3D microfluidic devices. For most systems that are currently available, the main issues are the requirement of large cell numbers, the low throughput, and expensive equipment, which render these devices unattractive for research and the drug-developing industry. A higher acceptance of these devices could be achieved by their simplification and their compatibility with high-throughput, as both aspects are of major importance for a user-friendly device.
Abstract: The screening of living cells using high-throughput microarrays is technically challenging. Great care must be taken in the chemical presentation of potential ligands and the number of collisions that cells make with them. To overcome these issues, we have developed a glass slide-based microarray system to discover small molecule ligands that preferentially bind to one cell type over another, including when the cells differ by only a single receptor. Chemical spots of 300 ± 10 µm in diameter are conjugated covalently to glass slides using an arraying robot, and novel near-infrared fluorophores with peak emission at 700 nm and 800 nm are used to label two different cell types. By carefully optimizing incubation conditions, including cell density, motion, kinetics, detection, etc. we demonstrate that cell-ligand binding occurs, and that the number of cells bound per chemical spot correlates with ligand affinity and specificity. This screening system lays the foundation for high-throughput discovery of novel ligands to the cell surface.