Intracellular pressure has a multitude of functions in cells surrounded by a cell wall or similar matrix in all kingdoms of life. The functions include cell growth, nastic movements, and penetration of tissue by parasites. The precise measurement of intracellular pressure in the majority of cells, however, remains difficult or impossible due to their small size and/or sensitivity to manipulation. Here, we report on a method that allows precise measurements in basically any cell type over all ranges of pressure. It is based on the compression of nanoliter and picoliter volumes of oil entrapped in the tip of microcapillaries, which we call pico gauges. The production of pico gauges can be accomplished with standard laboratory equipment, and measurements are comparably easy to conduct. Example pressure measurements are performed on cells that are difficult or impossible to measure with other methods.
Plant Physiology, 2014, Vol 166, Issue 3, p. 1271-1279