Genetically-encoded circuit for remote regulation of cell migration by magnetic fields

Mosabbir, Abdullah  1  ;   Truong, Kevin  1, 2    

1.   Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering;    2.   Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering  

Magneto-reception can be generally defined as the ability to transduce the effects of a magnetic field into a cellular response. Magnetic stimulation at the cellular level is particularly attractive due to its ability for deep penetration and minimal invasiveness, allowing remote regulation of engineered biological processes. Previously, a magnetic-responsive genetic circuit was engineered using the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and the iron containing ferritin protein (i.e. the TF circuit). In this study, we combined the TF circuit with a Ca2+ activated RhoA protein (CaRQ) to allow a magnetic field to remotely regulate cell migration. Cells expressing the TF circuit and CaRQ exhibited consistent dynamic protrusions, leading to migration along a porous membrane, directed spreading in response to a magnetic field gradient, as well as wound healing. This work offers a compelling interface for programmable electrical devices to control the migration of living systems for potential applications in cell-based therapy.