Patch Clamping

The IonWorks Barracuda Automated Patch Clamping System is the ideal choice for measuring both ligand- and voltage-gated ion channels with high throughput and low operating cost. The Molecular Devices kit is the best in these areas of any automated electrophysiology platform.

Unlike the indirect measurements of surrogate ion channel activity given by fluorescent or ion flux assays, the IonWorks patch clamping system measures ionic currents directly and also controls the membrane voltage inside a cell. This adds the capability to measure rapidly desensitising ligand-gated channels and a throughput of more than 10,000 data points per day can be achieved with both voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels (VGICs and LGICs).


Ion channel dysfunction is associated with a range of human diseases, including cystic fibrosis, migraine, epilepsy and cancer and is also related to the study of the senses. Studying these ion channel irregularities is an attractive and promising area of academic research.

Ion channel assessment is also vital in safety assessments of drugs trials in order to reduce side effects.

Population Patch Clamp technology

The patch clamping system features Population Patch Clamp (PPC) technology to improve data consistency and success rates by mitigating the biological variability seen when measuring from individual cells. Furthermore, PPC allows the primary screening of large directed libraries and novel assays such as channel opener assays and multiplexing multiple ion channel targets in a single assay.

As well as PPC, the patch clamping IonWorks Barracuda system also supports single hole recording modes, which are vital when information is needed from individual cells during ion channel assay optimisation and when selecting individual clones for cell line optimisation.

Assay plate

The 384-well assay plate has a uniquely-designed recording chamber optimised for rapid fluid exchange. This is vital when measuring fast LGICs to resolve the rapid activation and desensitisation kinetics of their ionic currents.

By combining 384 discreet amplifiers and a 384-channel pipettor head, ionic current recordings of all wells can be carried out simultaneously, boosting productivity and saving time. This means more than 10,000 data points can be generated every day, with a typical ion channel assay with one compound addition per well taking as little as 20 minutes to be carried out. And with up to eight compound additions per well supported, throughput is increased still further and the patch clamping system can be used for compound profiling and safety assessment.


The IonWorks Barracuda system is available in two configurations - a basic and a fully automated system with cell management capabilities and plate-handling. Both come with an automated pipettor designed to minimise cell usage and cut down operating costs.

The automated patch clamping option adds further PatchPlates capabilities and provides onboard cell storage and cell suspension preparation on the assay deck. It can continue unattended operation for up to six hours, freeing-up analysts for other tasks and increasing productivity and savings in terms of time and money.

Date added: 2015-05-25 13:17:02