, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 56-62

Electroporation as a technique for the transfer of macromolecules into mammalian cell lines

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Numerous methods have been devised to facilitate the introduction of exogenous compounds into cells. The technique of electroporation allows the direct physical transfer of numerous kinds of molecules into essentially any cell, but the major application has been for transfection of DNA and this emphasis is recapitulated here. However, the conditions for transfer of DNA or other macromolecules are sufficiently similar that the same protocol is followed regardless. In addition, as electroporation involves a mechanism distinct from that of most other methods of transfection, it has distinct advantages and disadvantages relative to other transfection techniques. This review is designed to allow one to simplify the processes of determining whether electroporation is appropriate to a given experimental design, to indicate how to minimize the disadvantages, and to simplify the requisite process of parameter optimization required to evaluate and apply electroporation to the system of choice. Practical aspects are highlighted but the theoretical bases are discussed when relevant for application of the technique.