Electroporation is a mechanical transfection method that uses an electrical pulse to create temporary pores in cell membranes through which substances like nucleic acids can pass into cells. It is a highly efficient strategy for the introduction of foreign DNA into tissue culture cells, especially mammalian cells.

How Electroporation Works

Electroporation is based on a simple process. Host cells and selected molecules are suspended in a conductive solution, and an electrical circuit is closed around the mixture. An electrical pulse lasting a few microseconds to a millisecond, at an optimized voltage, is discharged through the cell suspension. This disturbs the phospholipid bilayer of the membrane and causes the formation of temporary pores. The electrical potential across the cell membrane simultaneously rises to allow charged molecules like DNA to be driven across the membrane through the pores in a manner similar to electrophoresis.

Electroporation is an effective method for transfection of many cell types, including bacteria and mammalian cells. For some cell types, such and stem cells and primary cells, it may be the only effective transfection method.

Neon® Transfection System for Electroporation

  The Neon® Transfection System is a second-generation transfection system that uses an electronic pipette tip as an electroporation chamber. The design and performance of the Neon® electronic pipette transfection chamber results in increased cell viability and transfection efficiency compared to traditional cuvette-based electroporation systems.

The Neon® Transfection System has helped many researchers improve their transfection experiments. The system was designed for electroporation of mammalian cells, but some customers have found it to be successful for other cell types such as insect cell cultures and parasites.

The advantages of this method are:

  • Versatility:  Electroporation with the Neon® system is effective with mammalian cell types
  • Efficiency:  A high percentage of cells are transfected without jeopardizing viability
  • Flexibility:  A range of cell numbers can be used: from 104 to 106 cells
  • Simplicity:  Just one kit for all cell types
  • Novel:  The Neon® system employs a unique electroporation chamber, as easy to use as a pipette and with a circular shape that provides advantages over cuvette-based systems.

The design of the electroporation chamber distributes the current equally among the cells and maintains a stable pH throughout the chamber; these key benefits increase cell viability dramatically.