Automated Patch Clamping Using the QPatch

Author(s): Kenneth A. Jones, Nicoletta Garbati, Hong Zhang, and Charles H. Large

Whole-cell voltage clamp electrophysiology using glass patch pipettes (1) is regarded as the gold standard for measurement of compound activity on ion channels. Despite the high quality of the data generated by this method, in its traditional format, patch clamping has limited use in drug screening due to very low throughput. Over the years, developments in microfabrication have driven the development of planar, multi-aperture technologies that are suitable for parallel, automated patch recording techniques. Here we present detailed methods for two common applications of the planar patch technology using one of the commercially available instruments. The results demonstrate (a) the high quality of whole-cell recordings obtainable from cell lines expressing human Nav1.2 or hERG ion channels, (b) the advantages of the methodology for increasing throughput, and (c) examples of how these assays support ion channel drug discovery.