A mechanical method of delivering molecules into the cell using sound, e.g. ultrasonic frequencies
Sonoporation is one of the non-chemical means being used to transfer molecules into the target cell; others are electroporation, impalefection, optical transfection, and hydrodynamic delivery. Similar to these non-chemical means, sonoporation increases the permeability of cell membrane to macromolecules such as DNA. It does so by creating transient pores in cell membranes by subjecting the recipient cell to sonication. Typically, the sound used to bring about the formation of pores in cell membrane is ultrasonic frequencies. Sonoporation, thus, employs acoustic cavitation of microbubbles interacting with nearby cell membranes that consequently enables the transfer of macromolecules into the recipient cells.1 When employing sonoporation for transfection or transformation of cells, cellular viability must be considered because prolonged exposure to low-frequency ultrasound may result in the rupturing, and ultimately to the death, of the cell.
Sonoporation is being considered for use in gene therapy (in vivo). As a medical treatment, it may be used to deliver modified DNA into specific recipient cells via ultrasound frequencies.
1Yizhi Song; Garaventa, G; Bottero, S; Leprini, AE; Pallestrini, E; Castello, E; Pallestrini, EA; Huang, W. E. (2007). “Ultrasound-mediated DNA transfer for bacteria”. Nucleic Acids Res. 35 (19): 1073–80. doi:10.1093/nar/gkm710.