Issue 4 online! EGF receptor cluster study, dynamic study of NK cells and large scale adjuvant screening

Issue 4 is online is here with these three fascinating articles featured on the cover. All of our cover articles are free to access for 6 weeks*!

A technical innovation from Björn Önfelt and colleagues at Royal Institute of Technology, Karolinska Institute and Science for Life Laboratory, Sweden, is highlighted on the outside front cover. They enable real-time, dynamic study of immune synapse formation and the cytotoxicity of natural killer cells, as individual NK cells in a population have different cytotoxic responses. The method is an assay using ultrasound-assisted cell–cell aggregation in a multi-well chip. The ultrasound allows the timing and positioning of the aggregation to be controlled and interaction between NK cells can be induced mimicking biological forces.

Live cell imaging in a micro-array of acoustic traps facilitates quantification of natural killer cell heterogeneity
Athanasia E. Christakou, Mathias Ohlin, Bruno Vanherberghen, Mohammad Ali Khorshidi, Nadir Kadri, Thomas Frisk, Martin Wiklund and Björn Önfelt
DOI: 10.1039/C3IB20253D


Following on from this, an article focused on a nanoimmunoassay on a microfluidic chip for vaccine adjuvant screening is featured as the inside front cover. The work led by Jeffrey Hubbell and Sebastian Maerkl at EPFL, Switzerland, is aimed at large scale, high-throughput biomarker quantification using a microarray robot. The reagents cost 1000 times less than those for traditional ELISA and low sample volumes of only a few nanolitres are required.

A high-throughput nanoimmunoassay chip applied to large-scale vaccine adjuvant screening
Jose L. Garcia-Cordero, Chiara Nembrini, Armando Stano, Jeffrey A. Hubbell and Sebastian J. Maerkl
DOI: 10.1039/C3IB20263A


The back cover illustrates the work of Khalid Salaita, Emory University, USA. The paper by Salita et al. looks at the assembly of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) into clusters after EGF has bound. Despite the wide study of EGF, the role of the clusters was previously unknown. To do this, they quantify the difference in phosphorylation of EGFR when the binding occurs on mobile (nanopatterned supported lipid bilayer) versus immobile (glass slide) surfaces. This is to control the clustering and assess the activation levels of the receptors able to cluster compared to those constrained from clustering normally. They find that cluster size affects receptor phosphorylation. This biological insight, interesting in itself, will be useful for surface-tethering in biomaterials.

Manipulating the lateral diffusion of surface-anchored EGF demonstrates that receptor clustering modulates phosphorylation levels
D. Stabley, S. Retterer, S. Marshall and K. Salaita
DOI: 10.1039/C3IB20239A

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