Project title: Remote mechanosensitive ion channels stimulation using synthetic antiferromagnetic nanoplatelets (ChannelControl)
Host Institution: Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Host Supervisor: Dr. Ir. Reinoud Lavrijsen
Co-host Institution:Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Co-host Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gil Westmeyer
Summary project: The ChannelContol project aims to develop a platform based on synthetic antiferromagnetic nanoplatelets (SAF-NPs) for targeted and remote magnetomechanical actuation of ion channels involved in cancer progression. The SAF-NPs will serve as remote nanotransducers transforming the energy of a low-frequency magnetic field into mechanical force triggering the calcium influx through Piezo1 and TRPV4 ion channels of mammalian cells with a potential impact on magnetomechanical cancer therapies.
The main advantages of the designer SAF-NPs for magnetomechanical actuation over other nanostructures of similar size are (i) full control of the 3D orientation of the nanoplatelet by an external field, allowing for mechanical torques in addition to conventional forces, (ii) no magnetic moment at zero field, excluding aggregation, and (iii) the possibility to use multiple functionalizations (ligands, fluorescence, etc.) due to tunable surface properties of the SAF-NPs.
These features will allow me to critically improve the existing protocols for ion channels actuation by:
- fabricating SAF-NPs capable of generating forces in the 1-100 pN range in a low-frequency magnetic field;
- expressing the ion channels Piezo1 and TRPV4 in HEK293T cells and varying the attachment points to the SAF-NPs using bioengineering;
- using arbitrary 3D magnetic field protocols for ion channel actuation combined with a read-out technique for in situ Ca2+ detection.
The key for successful implementation of ChannelControl is the synergy between the reproducible nanofabrication of SAF-NPs actuated by original 3D magnetic field setups at the TU/e (host lab) and the unique expertise on mammalian cell bioengineering at the TUM (co-host lab).