If you would have told cell biologists two generations ago that their intellectual descendants would be able to place trypsinized cells from an in-vitro cell culture or in-vivo tissue samples, and physically separate and collect user-defined cell populations with a specialized sorter
sort out specific subpopulations for further experimentation and manipulation, they would have been astounded.
And yet, this powerful tool is at the fingertips of any laboratory prepared to make the considerable investment required to purchase, maintain and intelligently use the Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorter (FACS).
How does cell sorting works?
The FACS has three main components you need to understand: fluidics, optics and electronics.
- The fluidics system enabling cell sorting transports cells from the sample tube into the flow cell, past the laser, where they are sorted or discarded as waste.
- The optical system is where the light excitation sources are located, including excitation light sources, lenses and filters, which generate the photocurrent used to mark specific cell populations for identification. The light scattering pattern of distinct cell populations can be augmented by fluorescent markers applied to specific marker molecules, either through endogenous expression, or via fluorescently tagged antibodies.
- The electronics systems are what analyzes the photocurrent from the detector, digitizing it to provide the data enabling identification of cell subpopulations, deciding on which to sort for later recovery and which to discard.
Choosing a Cell Sorting Machine
Finding the device with the optimal cell sorting capabilities for your research needs and budget can be intimidating. You should not settle for a cell sorting machine with fewer capabilities than necessary to perform the required tasks, but you also don’t need to burden your limited budget with capabilities you will never need. Here at Merkel we stand ready to advise and direct you at the ideal choice for you, and provide you with all the post-purchase support you need to make the most out of your investment.