ISPE Glossary of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Terminology

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Electroporation

1. An electrical treatment of cells that induces transient pores, through which DNA can enter the cell.

2. The introduction of DNA or RNA into protoplasts or other cells by the momentary disruption of the cell membrane through exposure to an intense electric field.

NOTE: Although the precise mechanism of electroporation is poorly understood, pores are thought to form by the local polarization of the cell membrane when it is exposed to a high electric potential. These openings persist for a variable amount of time, depending upon the temperature at which the cell is treated. Macro-molecules, such as DNA or RNA, enter through these openings either through diffusion or through electrophoretic movement. The membrane openings then re-seal, capturing introduced DNA and preventing escape of the cell contents.

Publication Source: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Publication Date: 1999

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