Engineered Human Synapses

Jiksak Bioengineering’s R&D focuses on peripheral axons and the synapses formed with target cells, particularly the neuromuscular junction. We provide drug discovery research services such as screening and assay development. In addition, we license out our technology to customers for development of new therapies for neuromuscular diseases.

Synaptogenic Beads Technology

Our Engineered Synapse Technology consists of protein-conjugated beads, approximately 10 μm in diameter. When the beads are co-cultured with human iPS cell-derived motor neurons, the axons recognize the beads as post-synaptic tissue and synapses form between the axon termini and beads. These co-cultures can be used to screen for compounds that increase synapse formation and strengthen the neuromuscular junction.

Synaptogenic Bead Features:

  • Induces synapse formation with both central and peripheral neurons
  • Simple – no complex co-culture system required
  • Highly reproducible – useful for high throughput screening
  • Fast – induces synapse formation within 24 hours
  • Established drug screening system (CRO recommendation available)
  • Can be used with our Nerve Organoid B-Chip and other co-culture systems
Active beads
Control beads

Active beads induce synapse formation: a) synapse staining, conjugation of protein X to microbeads; f) synapse staining, no conjugation of protein-X to microbeads b) and g) staining of microbeads; c) and h) staining of neuronal marker; d) and i) presence of artificial synapses are identified by presence of co-staining (white); e) and j) electron microscopy images of microbeads with and without synapse induction, respectively.

Our engineered human synapse technology can uncover the mechanisms that cause neuromuscular junction alterations and discover new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and myasthenia gravis.