Bioelectronic measurement and feedback control of molecules in living cells
October 2, 2017
We describe an electrochemical measurement technique that enables bioelectronic measurements of reporter proteins in living cells as an alternative to traditional optical fluorescence. Using electronically programmable microfluidics, the measurement is in turn used to control the concentration of an inducer input that regulates production of the protein from a genetic promoter. The resulting bioelectronic and microfluidic negative-feedback loop then serves to regulate the concentration of the protein in the cell. We show measurements wherein a user-programmable set-point precisely alters the protein concentration in the cell with feedback-loop parameters affecting the dynamics of the closed-loop response in a predictable fashion. Our work does not require expensive optical fluorescence measurement techniques that are prone to toxicity in chronic settings, sophisticated time-lapse microscopy, or bulky/expensive chemo-stat instrumentation for dynamic measurement and control of biomolecules in cells. Therefore, it may be useful in creating a: cheap, portable, chronic, dynamic, and precise all-electronic alternative for measurement and control of molecules in living cells.