Nanostraw-electroporation system for highly efficient intracellular delivery and transfection

ACS Nano. 2013 May 28;7(5):4351-8. doi: 10.1021/nn400874a. Epub 2013 Apr 23.


Nondestructive introduction of genes, proteins, and small molecules into mammalian cells with high efficiency is a challenging, yet critical, process. Here we demonstrate a simple nanoelectroporation platform to achieve highly efficient molecular delivery and high transfection yields with excellent uniformity and cell viability. The system is built on alumina nanostraws extending from a track-etched membrane, forming an array of hollow nanowires connected to an underlying microfluidic channel. Cellular engulfment of the nanostraws provides an intimate contact, significantly reducing the necessary electroporation voltage and increasing homogeneity over a large area. Biomolecule delivery is achieved by diffusion through the nanostraws and enhanced by electrophoresis during pulsing. The system was demonstrated to offer excellent spatial, temporal, and dose control for delivery, as well as providing high-yield cotransfection and sequential transfection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum Oxide / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Survival
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Drug Delivery Systems / instrumentation
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Electricity
  • Electroporation / instrumentation
  • Electroporation / methods*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism*
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection / methods*


  • Aluminum Oxide