High-throughput microfluidic mixing and multiparametric cell sorting for bioactive compound screening. Academic Article uri icon


  • HyperCyt, an automated sample handling system for flow cytometry that uses air bubbles to separate samples sequentially introduced from multiwell plates by an autosampler. In a previously documented HyperCyt configuration, air bubble separated compounds in one sample line and a continuous stream of cells in another are mixed in-line for serial flow cytometric cell response analysis. To expand capabilities for high-throughput bioactive compound screening, the authors investigated using this system configuration in combination with automated cell sorting. Peptide ligands were sampled from a 96-well plate, mixed in-line with fluo-4-loaded, formyl peptide receptor-transfected U937 cells, and screened at a rate of 3 peptide reactions per minute with approximately 10,000 cells analyzed per reaction. Cell Ca(2+) responses were detected to as little as 10(-11) M peptide with no detectable carryover between samples at up to 10(-7) M peptide. After expansion in culture, cells sort-purified from the 10% highest responders exhibited enhanced sensitivity and more sustained responses to peptide. Thus, a highly responsive cell subset was isolated under high-throughput mixing and sorting conditions in which response detection capability spanned a 1000-fold range of peptide concentration. With single-cell readout systems for protein expression libraries, this technology offers the promise of screening millions of discrete compound interactions per day.

publication date

  • March 2004