A streptavidin–biotin system combined with magnetic actuators for remote neuronal guidance

Dafna Rivka Levenberg, Eli Varon, Ganit Indech, Tal Ben Uliel, Lidor Geri, Amos Sharoni, Orit Shefi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The ability to control neuronal mobility and organization is of great importance in developing neuronal interfaces and novel therapeutic approaches. An emerging promising method is the manipulation of neuronal cells from afar via magnetic forces. Nevertheless, using magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles as internal actuators may lead to biotoxicity, adverse influence on intracellular processes, and thus requires prerequisite considerations for therapeutic approaches. Magnetizing the cells via the incorporation of magnetic particles that can be applied extracellularly is advantageous. Herein, we have developed a magnetic system based on streptavidin–biotin interaction to decorate cellular membrane with magnetic elements. In this model, superparamagnetic microparticles, coated with streptavidin, were specifically bound to biotinylated PC12 cells. We demonstrated that cell movement can be directed remotely by the forces produced by pre-designed magnetic fields. First, using time lapse imaging, we analyzed the kinetics of cell migration towards the higher flux zone. Next, to form organized networks of cells we designed and fabricated micro-patterned magnetic devices. The fabricated devices were composed of a variety of ferromagnetic shapes, sputter-deposited onto glass substrates. Cells that were conjugated to the magnetic particles were plated atop the micro-patterned substrates, attracted to the magnetic actuators and became fixed onto the magnetic patterns. In all, our study presents a novel system based on a well-known molecular technology combined with nanotechnology that may well lead to the expansion of implantable magnetic actuators to organize and direct cellular growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalJournal of Biological Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


This work was supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel (#3–15629 and #3–16486). We thank the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials for the use of its facilities. O.S. thanks the Ministry of Science and Technology for partial support (#3-15629, #3-16486). D.L. and E.V thanks the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials for receiving its scholarship for excellent students. We thank Prof. Aryeh Weiss for using his lab equipment. Dr. Avraham Chelly for his assistance with magnetic measurements. Illustrations were created with BioRender.com.

FundersFunder number
Ministry of science and technology, Israel3–15629, 3–16486


    • Magnetic manipulation
    • Magnetic particles
    • Neuronal organization
    • Streptavidin–biotin


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