Noninvasive Measurement of Electrical Events Associated with a Single Chlorovirus Infection of a Microalgal Cell

Seung Woo Lee, Eun Hee Lee, Gerhard Thiel, James L. Van Etten, Ravi F. Saraf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Chlorovirus Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus 1 (PBCV-1) contains a viral-encoded K+ channel imbedded in its internal membrane, which triggers host plasma membrane depolarization during virus infection. This early stage of infection was monitored at high resolution by recording the cell membrane depolarization of a single Chlorella cell during infection by a single PBCV-1 particle. The measurement was achieved by depositing the cells onto a network of one-dimensional necklaces of Au nanoparticles, which spanned two electrodes 70 μm apart. The nanoparticle necklace array has been shown to behave as a single-electron device at room temperature. The resulting electrochemical field-effect transistor (eFET) was gated by the cell membrane potential, which allowed a quantitative measurement of the electrophysiological changes across the rigid cell wall of the microalgae due to a single viral attack at high sensitivity. The single viral infection signature was quantitatively confirmed by coupling the eFET measurement with a method in which a single viral particle was delivered for infection by a scanning probe microscope cantilever.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5123-5130
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 24 2016


  • cell membrane potential
  • depolarization
  • electrochemical analysis
  • field-effect transistor
  • viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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