Carbon Nanopipettes Characterize Calcium Release Pathways in Breast Cancer Cells
Carbon-based nanoprobes are attractive for minimally-invasive cell interrogation but their application in cell physiology has thus far been limited. We have developed carbon nanopipettes (CNPs) with nanoscopic tips and used them to inject calcium-mobilizing messengers into cells without compromising cell viability. We identify pathways sensitive to cyclic adenosine diphosphate ribose (cADPr) and nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP) in breast carcinoma cells. Our findings demonstrate the superior utility of CNPs for intracellular delivery of impermeant molecules and, more generally, for cell physiology studies. The CNPs do not appear to cause any lasting damage to cells. Their advantages over the commonly used glass pipettes include smaller size, breakage and clogging resistance, and potential for multifunctionality such as concurrent injection and electrical measurements.