Journal article, 2010
Single-cell electroporation (SCEP) is a relatively new technique that has emerged in the last decade or so for single-cell studies. When a large enough electric field is applied to a single cell, transient nano-pores form in the cell membrane allowing molecules to be transported into and out of the cell. Unlike bulk electroporation, in which a homogenous electric field is applied to a suspension of cells, in SCEP an electric field is created locally near a single cell. Today, single-cell-level studies are at the frontier of biochemical research, and SCEP is a promising tool in such studies. In this review, we discuss pore formation based on theoretical and experimental approaches. Current SCEP techniques using microelectrodes, micropipettes, electrolyte-filled capillaries, and microfabricated devices are all thoroughly discussed for adherent and suspended cells. SCEP has been applied in in-vivo and in-vitro studies for delivery of cell-impermeant molecules such as drugs, DNA, and siRNA, and for morphological observations.