Microfluidic Encapsulation of Demembranated Sperm Nuclei in Xenopus Egg Extracts. Academic Article uri icon


  • The cell-free nature of Xenopus egg extract makes it a uniquely tractable experimental model system. The extract, effectively unconfined cytoplasm, allows the direct and relatively straight-forward addition of purified proteins and other reagents, a characteristic that renders the system amenable to many biochemical and cell biological manipulations. Accessibility to the system also facilitates the direct physical manipulation and probing of biological structures, in turn enabling mechanical properties of intracellular assemblies and organelles, such as the mitotic spindle and nucleus, to be measured. Recently, multiphase microfluidics have been combined with Xenopus egg extracts to encapsulate discrete cytoplasmic volumes. Described here is a protocol detailing the use of multiphase microfluidic devices to encapsulate sperm nuclei within extract droplets of defined size and shape. This protocol can also be applied more generally to encapsulation of microbeads and other particles.

publication date

  • August 1, 2018