Efficient and Innocuous Live‐Cell Delivery: Making Membrane Barriers Disappear to Enable Cellular Biochemistry
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The confluence of protein engineering techniques and delivery protocols are providing new opportunities in cell biology. In particular, techniques that render the membrane of cells transiently permeable make the introduction of nongenetically encodable macromolecular probes into cells possible. This, in turn, can enable the monitoring of intracellular processes in ways that can be both precise and quantitative, ushering an area that one may envision as cellular biochemistry. Herein, the author reviews pioneering examples of such new cell-based assays, provides evidence that challenges the paradigm that cell penetration is a necessarily damaging and stressful event for cells, and highlights some of the challenges that should be addressed to fully unlock the potential of this nascent field.
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