Gating a Single Cell: A Label-Free and Real-Time Measurement Method for Cellular Progression

Saw Lin Oo, Shishir Venkatesh, Abdul Mojeed Ilyas, Vaithinathan Karthikeyan, Clement Manohar Arava, Eva Yi Kong, Chi Chung Yeung, Xianfeng Chen, Peter K.N. Yu*, Vellaisamy A.L. Roy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is an ever-growing need for more advanced methods to study the response of cancer cells to new therapies. To determine cancer cells' response from a cell-mortality perspective to various cancer therapies, we report a label-free and real time method to monitor the in situ response of individual HeLa cells using a single cell gated transistor (SCGT). As a cell undergoes apoptotic cell death, it experiences changes in morphology and ion concentrations. This change is well in line with the threshold voltage of the SCGT, which has been verified by correlating the data with the cell morphologies by scanning electron microscopy and the ion-concentration analysis by inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS). This SCGT could replace patch clamps to study single cell activity via direct measurement in real time. Importantly, this SCGT can be used to study the electrical response of a single cell to stimuli that leaves the membrane intact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1738-1745
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number2
Early online date6 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2020


  • potassium
  • Cells
  • Apoptosis
  • Irradiation
  • Ions

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