Publications

The CherryTemp™ fast temperature regulation system has been optimized for high resolution imaging in cell biology research. The ability of the CherryTemp™ temperature regulator to quickly change biological sample temperature during microscopy has been originally validated for microtubules stability studies. CherryTemp™ temperature controller unique features now enable to study any temperature-dependant mechanism in yeast, C. elegans, drosophila, cell lines…

*NEW* Inhibition of ectopic microtubule assembly by the kinesin-13 KLP-7 prevents chromosome segregation and cytokinesis defects in oocytes (Development, 2017)

Summary | In most species, oocytes lack centrosomes. Accurate meiotic spindle assembly and chromosome segregation – essential to prevent miscarriage or developmental defects – thus occur through atypical mechanisms that are not well characterized. Using quantitative in vitro and in vivo functional assays in the C. elegans oocyte, we provide novel evidence that the kinesin-13 KLP-7 promotes destabilization of the whole cellular microtubule network. By counteracting ectopic microtubule assembly and disorganization of the microtubule network, this function is strictly required for spindle organization, chromosome segregation and cytokinesis in meiotic cells. Strikingly, when centrosome activity was experimentally reduced, the absence of KLP-7 or the mammalian kinesin-13 protein MCAK (KIF2C) also resulted in ectopic microtubule asters during mitosis in C. elegans zygotes or HeLa cells, respectively. Our results highlight the general function of kinesin-13 microtubule depolymerases in preventing ectopic, spontaneous microtubule assembly when centrosome activity is defective or absent, which would otherwise lead to spindle microtubule disorganization and aneuploidy

LEARN MORE (PDF) | Gigant, E., Stefanutti, M., et al. Development 2017

Drug-compatible and temperature-controlled microfluidic device for live-cell imaging (Open Biology, 2016)

Summary | Monitoring cellular responses to changes in growth conditions and perturbation of targeted pathways is integral to the investigation of biological processes. However, manipulating cells and their environment during live-cell-imaging experiments still represents a major challenge. While the coupling of microfluidics with microscopy has emerged as a powerful solution to this problem, this approach remains severely underexploited. Indeed, most microdevices rely on the polymer polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which strongly absorbs a variety of molecules commonly used in cell biology. This effect of the microsystems on the cellular environment hampers our capacity to accurately modulate the composition of the medium and the concentration of specific compounds within the microchips, with implications for the reliability of these experiments. To overcome this critical issue, we developed new PDMS-free microdevices dedicated to live-cell imaging that show no interference with small molecules. They also integrate a module for maintaining precise sample temperature both above and below ambient as well as for rapid temperature shifts. Importantly, changes in medium composition and temperature can be efficiently achieved within the chips while recording cell behaviour by microscopy. Compatible with different model systems, our platforms provide a versatile solution for the dynamic regulation of the cellular environment during live-cell imaging.

LEARN MORE (PDF) | Chen, T. et al. Open Biology 2016

Ultrafast, sensitive and large-volume on-chip real-time PCR using CherryTemp (Lab on Chip, 2016)

Summary | To control future infectious disease outbreaks, like the 2014 Ebola epidemic, it is necessary to develop ultrafast molecular assays enabling rapid and sensitive diagnoses. To that end, several ultrafast real-time PCR systems have been previously developed, but they present issues that hinder their wide adoption, notably regarding their sensitivity and detection volume. An ultrafast, sensitive and large-volume real-time PCR system based on microfluidic thermalization is presented herein. The method is based on the circulation of pre-heated liquids in a microfluidic chip that thermalize the PCR chamber by diffusion and ultrafast flow switches. The system can achieve up to 30 real-time PCR cycles in around 2 minutes, which makes it the fastest PCR thermalization system for regular sample volume to the best of our knowledge. After biochemical optimization, anthrax and Ebola simulating agents could be respectively detected by a real-time PCR in 7 minutes and a reverse transcription real-time PCR in 7.5 minutes. These detections are respectively 6.4 and 7.2 times faster than with an off-the-shelf apparatus, while conserving real-time PCR sample volume, efficiency, selectivity and sensitivity. The high-speed thermalization also enabled us to perform sharp melting curve analyses in only 20 s and to discriminate amplicons of different lengths by rapid real-time PCR. This real-time PCR microfluidic thermalization system is cost-effective, versatile and can be then further developed for point-of-care, multiplexed, ultrafast and highly sensitive molecular diagnoses of bacterial and viral diseases.

LEARN MORE (PDF) | Houssin, T., Cramer, J. et al. LOC 2016

Fast temperature control for thermosensitive protein regulation (Developmental cell, 2009)

Summary | The spindle midzone—composed of antiparallel microtubules, microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs), and motors—is the structure responsible for microtubule organization and sliding during anaphase B. In general, MAPs and motors stabilize the midzone and motors produce sliding. We show that fission yeast kinesin-6 motor klp9p binds to the microtubule antiparallel bundler ase1p at the midzone at anaphase B onset. This interaction depends upon the phosphorylation states of klp9p and ase1p. The cyclin-dependent kinase cdc2p phosphorylates and its antagonist phosphatase clp1p dephosphorylates klp9p and ase1p to control the position and timing of klp9p-ase1p interaction. Failure of klp9p-ase1p binding leads to decreased spindle elongation velocity. The ase1p-mediated recruitment of klp9p to the midzone accelerates pole separation, as suggested by computer simulation. Our findings indicate that a phosphorylation switch controls the spatial-temporal interactions of motors and MAPs for proper anaphase B, and suggest a mechanism whereby a specific motor-MAP conformation enables efficient microtubule sliding.

LEARN MORE  | Phospho-Regulated Interaction between Kinesin-6 Klp9p and Microtubule Bundler Ase1p Promotes Spindle Elongation

Fast microfluidic temperature control during high resolution live cell imaging (Lab on Chip, 2011)

Summary | One major advantage of using genetically tractable model organisms such as the fission yeastSchizosaccharomyces pombe is the ability to construct temperature-sensitive mutations in a gene. The resulting gene product or protein behaves as wildtype at permissive temperatures. At non-permissive or restrictive temperatures the protein becomes unstable and some or all of its functions are abrogated. The protein regains its function when returning to a permissive temperature. In principle, temperature-sensitive mutation enables precise temporal control ofprotein activity when coupled to a fast temperature controller. Current commercial temperature control devices do not have fast switching capability over a wide range of temperatures, making repeated temperature changes impossible or impractical at the cellular timescale of seconds or minutes. Microfabrication using soft-lithography is emerging as a powerful tool for cell biological research. We present here a simple disposable polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) based microfluidic device capable of reversibly switching between 5 °C and 45 °C in less than 10 s. This device allows high-resolution live cell imaging with an oil immersion objective lens. We demonstrate the utility of this device for studying microtubule dynamics throughout the cell cycle.

LEARN MORE  | Fast microfluidic temperature control for high resolution live cell imaging

Fast temperature regulation and microscopy imaging mitochondria positioning (Current Biology, 2011)

Summary | Mitochondria form a dynamic tubular network within the cell. Proper mitochondria movement and distribution are critical for their localized function in cell metabolism, growth, and survival. In mammalian cells, mechanisms of mitochondria positioning appear dependent on the microtubule cytoskeleton, with kinesin or dynein motors carrying mitochondria as cargos and distributing them throughout the microtubule network. Interestingly, the timescale of microtubule dynamics occurs in seconds, and the timescale of mitochondria distribution occurs in minutes. How does the cell couple these two time constants?

LEARN MORE  | mmb1p Binds Mitochondria to Dynamic Microtubules

Fast temperature controller for live-cell imaging cytoskeleton studies (Methods in Cell biology, 2010)

Summary | Recent development in soft lithography and microfluidics enables biologists to create tools to control the cellular microenvironment. One such control is the ability to quickly change the temperature of the cells. Genetic model organism such as fission yeast has been useful for studies of the cell cytoskeleton. In particular, the dynamic microtubule cytoskeleton responds to changes in temperature. In addition, there are temperature-sensitive mutations of cytoskeletal proteins. We describe here the fabrication and use of a microfluidic device to quickly and reversibly change cellular temperature between 2°C and 50°C. We demonstrate the use of this device while imaging at high-resolution microtubule dynamics in fission yeast.

LEARN MORE | Chapter 11 – A Fast Microfluidic Temperature Control Device for Studying Microtubule Dynamics in Fission Yeast

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