Journal article

Amyloid Single Cell Cytotoxicity Assays by Nanomotion Detection

Cells are extremely complex systems able to modify actively their metabolism and behaviour in response to environmental conditions and stimuli, such as pathogenic agents or drugs. The comprehension of these responses is central to understand the molecular bases of human pathologies, including amyloid misfolding diseases. Conventional bulk biological assays are limited by intrinsic cellular heterogeneity in gene, protein and metabolite expression and can investigate only indirectly cellular reactions in non-physiological conditions. Here, we employ a label-free nanomotion sensor to study single neuroblastoma cells exposed to extracellular monomeric and amyloid α-synuclein species in real-time and in physiological conditions. Combining this technique with fluorescence microscopy, we demonstrate multispecies cooperative cytotoxic effect of amyloids and aggregate-induced loss of cellular membrane integrity. Notably, the method can study cellular reactions and cytotoxicity an order of magnitude faster and using 100-fold smaller volume of reagents when compared to conventional bulk analyses. This rapidity and sensitivity will allow testing novel pharmacological approaches to stop or delay a wide range of human diseases.


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