Observation of "wired" cell communication over 10- μ m and 20- μ m poly(dimethylsiloxane) barriers in tetracycline inducible expression systems

Ching Te Kuo, Cheng Yu Chi, Pei Yi Wu, Fang Tzu Chuang, Yueh Chien Lin, Hao Kai Liu, Guan Syuan Huang, Tzu Ching Tsai, Andrew M. Wo, Hsinyu Lee, Si Chen Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Communication between cells and extracellular environments is of interest because of its critical roles in cell development and differentiation. Particularly, this signal transduction is commonly believed to rely on the contact and binding of the participating molecules/proteins, suggesting that the binding distance needed is less than a few nanometers. However, it is difficult to precisely match the rapidly binding interaction which depends on the probability of molecular collision in living systems, raising a hypothesis that another mechanism exists, could promote this signal communication, and remains unknown. Here we report that a long-range signal delivery over 10-μm and 20-μm polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) barriers can be observed in microfluidically tetracycline (Tet) inducible expression systems. Results show that a significant increment of the long-range induced green fluorescent protein in human embryonic kidney 293T (HEK 293T) cells by the stimulation of Tet is demonstrated, and that such a signal induction is not dominated by Tet diffusion and displays a specific bindingless property. In addition, our experimental results, combined with theoretical modeling, suggest that this communication exhibits a bump-shaped characteristic depending on barrier thickness, materially structural property, surface roughness, and agonist concentration. It strongly relies on the PDMS barrier to delivery signal; therefore, we call such a mechanism as "wired" cell communication instead of wireless. These results could ignite interests in the novel and "wired" cell communication, which we call it X-signal, and in the use of such systems for the study of cellular biology and development of new drug.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024702
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 14 Jan 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Observation of "wired" cell communication over 10- μ m and 20- μ m poly(dimethylsiloxane) barriers in tetracycline inducible expression systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this