Optical manipulation and microfluidics for studies of single cell dynamics
Most research on optical manipulation aims towards investigation and development of the system itself. In this paper we show how optical manipulation, imaging and microfluidics can be combined for investigations of single cells. Microfluidic systems have been fabricated and are used, in combination with optical tweezers, to enable environmental changes for single cells. The environment within the microfluidic system has been modelled to ensure control of the process. Three biological model systems have been studied with different combinations of optical manipulation, imaging techniques and microfluidics. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, environmentally induced size modulations and spatial localization of proteins have been studied to elucidate various signalling pathways. In a similar manner the oxygenation cycle of single red blood cells was triggered and mapped using Raman spectroscopy. In the third experiment the forces between the endoplasmic reticulum and chloroplasts were studied in Pisum sativum and Arabidopsis thaliana. By combining different techniques we make advanced biological research possible, revealing information on a cellular level that is impossible to obtain with traditional techniques.