An Affordable Three-Dimensional (3D) Printed Recording Chamber for Two-Electrode Voltage Clamp Electrophysiology
Ian SK Shogren, Jean P. Gonzales, and Linda M. Boland
Biology Department, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA 23713.
Two electrode voltage-clamp (TEVC) electrophysiology in Xenopus oocytes is a common approach to studying the physiology and pharmacology of membrane transport proteins. Undergraduates may learn to use TEVC methodology in neuroscience or physiology courses and/or in faculty-mentored research experiences. Challenges with the methodology include the cost of commercially available recording chambers, especially when a lab needs multiple copies, and the additional time and expertise needed to use agar bridges and to stabilize solution flow and minimize noise from solution aspiration. Offering a low-cost and accessible recording chamber that overcomes these challenges would lower the barriers to success for undergraduates while also supporting publication-quality recordings. To address these issues, we developed a recording chamber using stereolithography, a 3D printing process. The physiology (PhISio) recording chamber features two options for solution aspiration that allow for individual preferences, optimizes placement of pre-made agar bridges to achieve laminar flow and reduce the time delays in initiating daily experiments, and minimizes the challenges of changing solution height and aspiration noise during perfusion. We compared the functionality of the PhISio chamber with a commercially available Warner Instruments RC-1Z chamber in electrophysiological recordings of inwardly rectifying potassium channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes. The PhISio chamber produced equivalent results to the RC-1Z chamber with respect to time-dependent solution changes and has several operational advantages for both new and experienced electrophysiologists, providing an affordable and convenient alternative to commercially available TEVC recording chambers.