Baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae
) represents a very popular single-celled eukaryotic model organism which has been studied extensively by various methods and whose genome has been completely sequenced. It was also among the first living organisms that were manipulated by optical tweezers and it is currently a frequent subject of optical micromanipulation experiments. We built a microfluidic system for optical trapping experiments with individual cells and used it for the assessment of cell tolerance to phototoxic stress. Using optical tweezers with the wavelength of 1064 nm, we trapped individual Saccharomyces cerevisiae
cells for 15 min and, subsequently, observed their stress response in specially designed microfluidic chambers over time periods of several hours by time-lapse video-microscopy. We determined the time between successive bud formations after the exposure to the trapping light, took account of damaged cells, and calculated the population doubling period and cell areas for increasing trapping power at a constant trapping time. Our approach represents an attractive, versatile microfluidic platform for quantitative optical trapping experiments with living cells. We demonstrate its application potential by assessing the limits for safe, non-invasive optical trapping of Saccharomyces cerevisiae
with infrared laser light.
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