Performing cellular surgery with a laser-powered nanoblade

This diagram illustrates the process of transferring mitochondria between cells using the nanoblade technology. Credit: Alexander N. Patananan

To study certain aspects of cells, researchers need the ability to take the innards out, manipulate them, and put them back. Options for this kind of work are limited, but researchers reporting May 10 in Cell Metabolism describe a “nanoblade” that can slice through a cell’s membrane to insert mitochondria. The researchers have previously used this technology to transfer other materials between cells and hope to commercialize the nanoblade for wider use in bioengineering.

“As a new tool for cell engineering, to truly engineer cells for health purposes and research, I think this is very unique,” says Mike Teitell, a pathologist and bioengineer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). “We haven’t run into anything so far, up to a few microns in size, that we can’t deliver.”

Teitell and Pei-Yu “Eric” Chiou, also a bioengineer at UCLA, first conceived the idea of a nanoblade several years ago to transfer a nucleus from one cell to another. However, they soon delved into the intersection of stem cell biology and energy metabolism, where the technology could be used to manipulate a cell’s mitochondria. Studying the effects of mutations in the mitochondrial genome, which can cause debilitating or fatal diseases in humans, is tricky for a number of reasons.

“There’s a bottleneck in the field for modifying a cell’s mitochondrial DNA,” says Teitell. “So we are working on a two-step process: edit the mitochondrial genome outside of a cell, and then take those manipulated mitochondria and put them back into the cell. We’re still working on the first step, but we’ve solved that second one quite well.”

Performing cellular surgery with a laser-powered nanoblade.


This image shows human osteosarcoma cells and mitochondria (green), with additional mitochondria (red) from human embryonic kidney cells transferred via the nanoblade. Very few red-labeled mitochondria are actually delivered by the nanoblade into each cell, compared to the pre-existing green mitochondria. Over a few weeks, the mitochondrial DNA in the red-labeled mitochondria will massively amplify. Credit: Ting-Hsiang Wu

The nanoblade apparatus consists of a microscope, laser, and titanium-coated micropipette to act as the “blade,” operated using a joystick controller. When a laser pulse strikes the titanium, the metal heats up, vaporizing the surrounding water layers in the culture media and forming a bubble next to a cell. Within a microsecond, the bubble expands, generating a local force that punctures the cell membrane and creates a passageway several microns long that the “cargo”—in this case, mitochondria—can be pushed through. The cell then rapidly repairs the membrane defect.

Teitell, Chiou, and their team used the nanoblade to insert tagged mitochondria from human breast cancer cells and embryonic kidney cells into cells without mitochondrial DNA. When they sequenced the nuclear and mitochondrial DNA afterwards, the researchers saw that the mitochondria had been successfully transferred and replicated by 2% of the cells, with a range of functionality. Other methods of mitochondrial transfer are hard to control, and when they have been reported to work, the success rates have been only 0.0001%-0.5% according to the researchers.

“The success of the mitochondrial transfer was very encouraging,” says Chiou. “The most exciting application for the nanoblade, to me, is in the study of mitochondria and infectious diseases. This technology brings new capabilities to help advance these fields.”

The team’s aspirations also go well beyond mitochondria, and they’ve already scaled up the nanoblade apparatus into an automated high-throughput version. “We want to make a platform that’s easy to use for everyone and allow researchers to devise anything they can think of a few microns or smaller that would be helpful for their research—whether that’s inserting antibodies, pathogens, synthetic materials, or something else that we haven’t imagined,” says Teitell. “It would be very cool to allow people to do something that they can’t do right now.”

Explore further: Researchers deliver large particles into cells at high speed

More information: Cell Metabolism, Wu et al.: “Mitochondrial Transfer by Photothermal Nanoblade Restores Metabolite Profile in Mammalian Cells” , DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.04.007

Journal reference: Cell Metabolism search and more info website

Provided by: Cell Press search and more info

See more at

37 thoughts on “Performing cellular surgery with a laser-powered nanoblade

  1. tickle says:

    Good way of describing, and good article to take data about my presentation subject, which i am going to deliver in college.

  2. adidas nmd says:

    I and my guys were actually viewing the good points located on your web page and so all of the sudden came up with a horrible feeling I never thanked the site owner for those strategies. Most of the men became absolutely thrilled to learn all of them and now have without a doubt been making the most of them. Appreciation for actually being indeed considerate and also for pick out varieties of terrific tips millions of individuals are really desirous to discover. Our honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to sooner.

  3. I precisely had to thank you so much again. I do not know the things that I would’ve made to happen in the absence of those aspects contributed by you over that situation. This was a alarming scenario in my position, however , being able to see your skilled manner you treated the issue forced me to leap for joy. I am happier for this service and in addition trust you recognize what a great job you have been carrying out educating the rest thru your blog. I am certain you haven’t got to know all of us.

  4. adidas nmd says:

    I found your weblog website on google and check a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the superb operate. I simply additional up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. In search of ahead to reading extra from you later on!?

  5. I’m just commenting to make you be aware of of the magnificent discovery our princess developed browsing yuor web blog. She picked up a good number of details, most notably what it’s like to have an incredible teaching character to make other individuals with ease know precisely a number of hard to do topics. You actually exceeded people’s expected results. Thanks for offering the interesting, safe, informative and in addition fun tips on the topic to Gloria.

  6. I wish to voice my respect for your kind-heartedness supporting people that actually need help on your situation. Your very own commitment to getting the message all through has been definitely helpful and have permitted regular people just like me to get to their endeavors. Your valuable information can mean much a person like me and extremely more to my mates. Thank you; from all of us.

  7. I just wanted to post a simple remark so as to say thanks to you for some of the lovely information you are giving at this website. My considerable internet look up has at the end of the day been recognized with brilliant facts and strategies to go over with my partners. I ‘d point out that most of us visitors actually are truly endowed to dwell in a superb website with so many wonderful professionals with insightful pointers. I feel rather happy to have discovered your entire web pages and look forward to really more awesome moments reading here. Thank you again for everything.

  8. I抦 impressed, I need to say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that抯 each educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you will have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is excellent; the problem is one thing that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I am very comfortable that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing relating to this.

  9. I simply wanted to jot down a comment so as to appreciate you for all of the awesome ways you are giving out at this site. My time consuming internet investigation has at the end been honored with really good points to write about with my friends and family. I ‘d point out that most of us readers actually are very much fortunate to exist in a great website with many lovely individuals with beneficial techniques. I feel extremely lucky to have encountered your weblog and look forward to plenty of more cool times reading here. Thanks again for all the details.

  10. My spouse and i felt now joyous that Emmanuel managed to do his research through the entire ideas he grabbed in your web site. It’s not at all simplistic just to continually be giving for free strategies other folks might have been making money from. We really do know we have got the writer to thank because of that. The illustrations you made, the simple site navigation, the friendships your site aid to instill – it’s got everything astounding, and it is leading our son in addition to our family reason why this theme is satisfying, which is certainly truly pressing. Many thanks for the whole lot!

  11. I needed to write you one little bit of remark so as to say thanks the moment again considering the splendid secrets you have provided in this article. It is extremely open-handed of people like you giving without restraint all a number of us might have marketed as an electronic book to generate some profit on their own, precisely now that you might have done it in the event you desired. Those strategies likewise acted as the good way to comprehend some people have a similar zeal really like my personal own to know a lot more in regard to this issue. I’m certain there are many more enjoyable sessions ahead for people who discover your site.

  12. Thanks for all of your labor on this blog. My niece really loves carrying out research and it’s really simple to grasp why. Almost all learn all concerning the lively method you create reliable guides by means of the web site and as well cause response from some other people on the subject matter so my princess is without question learning a lot. Have fun with the rest of the year. You have been carrying out a really good job.

  13. I not to mention my buddies were found to be following the nice tricks from your site then instantly I got an awful suspicion I had not thanked you for those secrets. These guys were definitely very interested to read them and now have pretty much been having fun with them. Many thanks for truly being considerably considerate and then for obtaining varieties of impressive subject matter millions of individuals are really desirous to learn about. My personal sincere apologies for not expressing appreciation to you sooner.

  14. golden goose says:

    I wish to express my admiration for your kindness giving support to folks who really need help with this important question. Your real commitment to passing the solution all over has been exceedingly invaluable and have in most cases enabled guys just like me to attain their desired goals. Your own valuable advice denotes a lot a person like me and even further to my fellow workers. Many thanks; from everyone of us.

  15. I have to point out my respect for your generosity in support of men and women that require assistance with this content. Your personal commitment to getting the solution all around turned out to be unbelievably insightful and have without exception allowed workers much like me to arrive at their endeavors. Your interesting guide means much a person like me and a whole lot more to my peers. Regards; from all of us.

  16. Thanks a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily brilliant opportunity to read articles and blog posts from this blog. It really is so superb plus full of fun for me and my office peers to visit your site really 3 times in 7 days to study the latest guidance you will have. Of course, I’m just always contented concerning the dazzling suggestions served by you. Certain 1 tips in this post are particularly the most efficient we have had.

  17. I am also writing to let you know of the brilliant experience my friend’s daughter had visiting your site. She mastered a good number of issues, with the inclusion of what it is like to possess an excellent helping heart to have the mediocre ones smoothly understand selected grueling subject matter. You actually surpassed readers’ expectations. Many thanks for presenting those useful, safe, revealing as well as fun tips on your topic to Gloria.

  18. nike roshe says:

    Thank you for all your labor on this site. Ellie takes pleasure in carrying out investigation and it is simple to grasp why. All of us learn all relating to the powerful ways you give practical strategies on the website and therefore welcome participation from people on that idea plus our favorite girl is in fact becoming educated a lot of things. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You have been conducting a first class job.

  19. I precisely wanted to appreciate you once more. I am not sure the things that I would’ve done in the absence of the type of tactics discussed by you directly on that area of interest. It previously was a real distressing concern for me, but looking at the expert style you dealt with it forced me to cry over happiness. I’m grateful for the guidance as well as pray you are aware of a great job you have been putting in training the mediocre ones through your web page. Most probably you’ve never come across all of us.

  20. I enjoy you because of each of your hard work on this web page. Ellie delights in managing investigations and it’s really simple to grasp why. Almost all learn all of the powerful ways you offer worthwhile tricks through the blog and therefore cause response from website visitors on this point and our girl is now understanding so much. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You’re the one carrying out a very good job.

  21. I precisely wished to thank you very much again. I’m not certain the things I could possibly have handled in the absence of the entire hints provided by you regarding that theme. Certainly was the challenging concern for me personally, however , looking at this expert mode you dealt with that forced me to weep with contentment. I am grateful for your support and pray you comprehend what an amazing job your are doing educating men and women through your website. More than likely you haven’t come across any of us.

  22. bape hoodie says:

    I’m writing to make you know what a perfect encounter my friend’s daughter experienced viewing the blog. She even learned numerous details, which include what it is like to possess an awesome helping heart to make others effortlessly have an understanding of selected tortuous subject areas. You truly exceeded my expected results. Thanks for giving those effective, dependable, informative and even unique guidance on this topic to Jane.

  23. nike prestos says:

    I enjoy you because of all your efforts on this blog. Ellie take interest in setting aside time for investigation and it’s easy to understand why. All of us learn all about the compelling mode you render great techniques through your blog and strongly encourage response from others about this content and our own girl is really being taught a lot of things. Have fun with the remaining portion of the year. You’re conducting a wonderful job.

  24. I am only commenting to make you know of the perfect discovery my wife’s girl went through studying your web site. She realized some pieces, which include what it is like to possess an excellent helping mindset to make many others effortlessly know precisely specific impossible subject areas. You truly surpassed our expected results. Thank you for imparting those priceless, dependable, informative not to mention unique tips about your topic to Kate.

  25. nfl jerseys says:

    I’m commenting to let you know of the fantastic discovery my daughter enjoyed reading through your webblog. She came to find a good number of details, including what it is like to possess an awesome giving spirit to make most people without difficulty have an understanding of specific tricky things. You undoubtedly surpassed our expectations. Thank you for coming up with these valuable, safe, edifying as well as easy tips about this topic to Sandra.

  26. dior glasses says:

    Thank you for your whole efforts on this web site. My mum really loves doing internet research and it’s really easy to understand why. I learn all relating to the dynamic manner you offer valuable guides through the website and as well invigorate participation from other ones on this idea so our favorite girl is always discovering a great deal. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. You’re the one conducting a powerful job.

  27. yeezy shoes says:

    Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an extraordinarily special chance to check tips from this blog. It is always very brilliant and as well , stuffed with a great time for me personally and my office friends to visit your blog really three times a week to see the fresh stuff you will have. Of course, I am usually motivated with the wonderful inspiring ideas served by you. Selected 1 areas in this article are easily the finest we have all ever had.

  28. I as well as my guys have already been analyzing the nice information and facts found on your web blog and so all of the sudden I got a terrible feeling I never expressed respect to you for those techniques. All of the young boys are actually as a consequence stimulated to learn all of them and already have actually been making the most of them. I appreciate you for truly being so helpful as well as for deciding on these kinds of superb subject areas millions of individuals are really desirous to discover. Our own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

  29. I’m writing to make you understand of the magnificent encounter my cousin’s princess gained using the blog. She noticed a wide variety of things, most notably how it is like to have an incredible coaching style to have folks smoothly comprehend various hard to do things. You actually exceeded visitors’ expected results. Thanks for rendering such informative, dependable, informative and as well as cool guidance on the topic to Lizeth.

  30. I together with my pals came reviewing the good suggestions on the website and then the sudden came up with an awful feeling I never expressed respect to the web site owner for those tips. The women ended up for that reason glad to see them and now have in truth been enjoying these things. I appreciate you for genuinely considerably thoughtful and also for deciding upon some cool information most people are really eager to learn about. My personal honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.

  31. I intended to compose you the very small remark to say thank you the moment again regarding the beautiful tactics you’ve shared in this case. It is pretty generous of people like you to convey extensively exactly what a lot of folks could possibly have advertised as an electronic book to help make some bucks for themselves, notably seeing that you could possibly have tried it if you decided. The points likewise served to be a fantastic way to comprehend many people have the identical dream just as my personal own to know the truth more and more on the topic of this condition. I think there are lots of more pleasurable periods up front for folks who read through your blog post.

  32. kyrie 4 says:

    I want to show my love for your kindness supporting men and women that should have assistance with the theme. Your very own dedication to getting the message all over turned out to be incredibly interesting and have usually helped women much like me to arrive at their targets. Your own invaluable useful information implies much to me and a whole lot more to my mates. Thanks a ton; from each one of us.

  33. yeezy boost says:

    I intended to post you a little observation to help say thanks over again about the pretty principles you’ve documented here. It is so particularly generous of people like you to deliver without restraint what exactly many people could possibly have offered for sale for an ebook to make some profit for themselves, and in particular now that you could have done it if you ever considered necessary. Those suggestions also served to provide a good way to know that other people have the same dreams really like my personal own to see much more when it comes to this problem. I am certain there are lots of more pleasurable moments in the future for individuals that look into your blog post.

  34. I enjoy you because of your entire work on this website. My niece enjoys making time for investigation and it’s obvious why. My spouse and i know all about the powerful form you render valuable information via the website and even invigorate participation from the others on that issue plus our favorite girl is certainly studying a whole lot. Have fun with the remaining portion of the year. Your conducting a wonderful job.

  35. birkin bag says:

    Thanks so much for providing individuals with remarkably wonderful possiblity to read critical reviews from this website. It is often very beneficial and also jam-packed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office acquaintances to search your blog at the least thrice per week to study the fresh items you have got. Of course, we are always astounded for the gorgeous hints served by you. Selected 2 points in this post are rather the most impressive we’ve ever had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA ImageChange Image