ERA4TB – Microfluidic dose–response platform to track the dynamics of drug response in single mycobacterial cells

Abstract: Preclinical analysis of drug efficacy is critical for drug development. However, conventional bulk-cell assays statically assess the mean population behavior, lacking resolution on drug-escaping cells. Inaccurate estimation of efficacy can lead to overestimation of compounds, whose efficacy will not be confirmed in the clinic, or lead to rejection of valuable candidates. Time-lapse microfluidic microscopy is a powerful approach to characterize drugs at high spatiotemporal resolution, but hard to apply on a large scale. Here we report the development of a microfluidic platform based on a pneumatic operating principle, which is scalable and compatible with long-term live-cell imaging and with simultaneous analysis of different drug concentrations. We tested the platform with mycobacterial cells, including the tubercular pathogen, providing the first proof of concept of a single-cell dose–response assay. This dynamic in-vitro model will prove useful to probe the fate of drug-stressed cells, providing improved predictions of drug efficacy in the clinic.

Authors: Mistretta, M., Gangneux, N., Manina, G.

Source: Nature, Scientific Reports