Author(s): Tyner KM, Kopelman R, Philbert MA, Tyner KM, Kopelman R, Philbert MA
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Abstract Previously, all biological measurements of intracellular electric fields (E fields), using voltage dyes or patch/voltage clamps, were confined to cellular membranes, which account for <0.1\% of the total cellular volume. These membrane-dependent techniques also frequently require lengthy calibration steps for each cell or cell type measured. A new 30-nm "photonic voltmeter", 1000-fold smaller than existing voltmeters, enables, to our knowledge, the first complete three-dimensional E field profiling throughout the entire volume of living cells. These nanodevices are calibrated externally and then applied for E field determinations inside any live cell or cellular compartment, with no further calibration steps. The results indicate that the E fields from the mitochondrial membranes penetrate much deeper into the cytosol than previously estimated, indicating that, electrically, the cytoplasm cannot be described as a simple homogeneous solution, as often approximated, but should rather be thought of as a complex, heterogeneous hydrogel, with distinct microdomains.
This article was published in Biophys J
and referenced in Biological Systems: Open Access