Automation of patch clamp techniques: Technical validation through characterization of voltage-gated potassium channels and ligand-gated ion channels
The QPatch™ is a powerful ion channel screening system, which was developed through extensive automation of the conventional patch clamp technique. Whole-cell current measurements take place on a disposable 16-channel QPlate™ in MTP format. Later, also a 48-channel QPlate will be available. Automation has been achieved by (i) employing planar silicon chips rather than traditional glass micropipettes, by (ii) elimination and/or simplification of a number of time-consuming tasks, e.g.visual cell selection and pipette tip localisation, manual microscope-aided pipette positioning and cell contact establishment, and subsequent gigaseal and whole-cell formation, and by (iii) cell preparation directly on theQPatch platform. We here report whole-cell currentdata from cultured cell lines expressing a number of voltage- or ligand-gated ion channels. The data were obtained on either complete 16-channel QPlates oron single chip assemblies (1-channel prototype).