Fast spatial-selective delivery into live cells

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Intracellular delivery of functional compounds into living cells is of great importance for cell biology as well as therapeutic applications. Often it is sufficient that the compound of interest (being a molecule or nanoparticle) is delivered to the cell population as a whole. However, there are applications that would benefit considerably from the possibility of delivering a compound to a certain subpopulation of cells, or even in selected single cells. Here we report on an integrated platform for high-throughput spatially resolved nanoparticle-enhanced photoporation (SNAP) of adherent cells. SNAP enables safe, intracellular delivery of exogenously administered nanomaterials in selected subpopulations of cells, even down to the single cell level. We demonstrate the power of SNAP by selectively delivering a safe contrast agent into a subpopulation of polynucleated keratinocytes, enabling their downstream purification for unraveling their role in neoplasm formation. The flexibility and speed with which individual cells can be labeled make SNAP an ideal tool for high-throughput applications, not only for selective labeling but also for targeted drug delivery.

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