Port-a-Patch publication in Biophysical Journal (2002)
Fertig N., Blick R.H., Behrends J.C
Biophys. J. (2002) 82(6):3056-62
The state of the art technology for the study of ion channels is the patch clamp technique. Ion channels mediate electrical current flow, have crucial roles in cellular physiology, and are important drug targets. The most popular (whole cell) variant of the technique detects the ensemble current over the entire cell membrane. Patch clamping is still a laborious process, requiring a skilled experimenter to micromanipulate a glass pipette under a microscope to record from one cell at a time. Here we report on a planar, microstructured quartz chip for whole cell patch clamp measurements without micromanipulation or visual control. A quartz substrate of 200 mm thickness is perforated by wet etching techniques resulting in apertures with diameters of 1 mm. The apertures replace the tip of glass pipettes commonly used for patch clamp recording. Cells are positioned onto the apertures from suspension by application of suction. Whole cell recordings from different cell types (CHO, N1E-115 neuroblastoma) are performed with microstructured chips studying K+ channels and voltage gated Ca2+ channels.