A Screen for Short-Range Paracrine Interactions

Spencer KH, Kim MY, Hughes CC, Hui EE.
Source: Integr Biol (Camb).
Publication Date: (2014)
Issue: 6(4): 382-7
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
Fibroblast, lung, human normal (NHLF)
Species: human
Tissue Origin: lung
Conventional methods for studying paracrine signaling in vitro may not be sensitive to short-range effects resulting from signal dilution or decay. We employ a microfabricated culture substrate to maintain two cell populations in microscale proximity. Individual populations can be quickly retrieved for cell-specific readouts by standard high-throughput assays. We show that this platform is sensitive to short-range interactions that are not detectable by common methods such as conditioned media transfer or porous cell culture inserts, as revealed by gene expression changes in a tumor-stromal crosstalk model. In addition, we are able to detect population-specific gene expression changes that would have been masked in mixed co-cultures. We thus demonstrate a tool for investigating an important class of intercellular communication that may be overlooked in conventional biological studies.