Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newly modified nanoparticle opens window on future gene editing technologies

25.05.2012
The scientific and technological literature is abuzz with nanotechnology and its manufacturing and medical applications. But it is in an area with a less glitzy aura-plant sciences-where nanotechnology advancements are contributing dramatically to agriculture.

Researchers at Iowa State University have now demonstrated the ability to deliver proteins and DNA into plant cells, simultaneously. This is important because it now opens up opportunities for more sophisticated and targeted plant genome editing-techniques that require the precise delivery of both protein and DNA to bring about specific gene modifications in crop plants.

Such modifications are becoming more and more important in the face of our changing climates as new insect pests, plant diseases and soil stresses emerge where previously there were few.

While DNA delivery into cells has become routine, delivering proteins and enzymes to both animal and plant cells has proved more challenging. The Iowa State team's protein delivery advancement is an important achievement toward this end.

A research paper describing the advancement has been published online by the journal Advanced Functional Materials. The work was partially sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred with long-term support from Iowa State University's Plant Sciences Institute.

The Iowa State research team includes Kan Wang, professor of agronomy; Brian Trewyn, associate scientist in chemistry; Susana Martin-Ortigosa, a post-doctoral research associate in agronomy; and Justin Valenstein, a chemistry doctoral student.

Nanoparticles are tiny materials that are the size equivalent of several molecules sitting side-by-side or the size of a big virus. A single nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. The virus that causes AIDS is roughly 100 nanometers in diameter.

Using new and improved custom-built honeycomb-like mesoporous silica nanoparticles that the Iowa State team designed five years ago, the researchers have demonstrated co-delivery of functional protein and DNA into plant cells.

The first generation of these customized particles were relatively small (100 nanometers) and so the available packing spaces were unable to accommodate larger functional molecules such as proteins or enzymes. This next generation is five times the size (500 nanometers) and looks something like an ultra-fine piece of Honeycomb cereal.

The key to the researchers' success is a newly devised method for making larger uniform pouches in the custom nanoparticles. An additional modification-gold plating the entire silica particle prior to packing-improved DNA and protein binding for a more secure payload.

To test the new particle's effectiveness, Wang and her colleagues loaded the pores with a green florescent protein derived from jelly fish, which serves as a photo marker inside the plant cell. Next, these particles were coated with DNA encoding a red protein from coral. The complex was then shot into plant cells using a gene gun, a traditional gene delivery method that gets foreign material past the plant's protective cell wall.

The gold plating innovation added some greatly needed ballistic heft to the particles, ensuring their ability to cannonball through the plant cell wall once released from the gene gun.

Cells that fluoresce both red and green at the same time confirm successful delivery. The team has demonstrated success in onion, tobacco and maize cells.

The work is a tangible realization of efforts the team had in the design stage just two years ago when colleague Victor Lin of Iowa State University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory unexpectedly died. "He was such a brilliant scientist," says Wang. "We all felt completely lost when we lost him."

But the team pulled together, capitalizing on the excellent training all had received from working with Lin to make this next generation particle a reality.

"We would have been unable to work out anything without each other," says Wang. "This success proves his legacy continues."

Kan Wang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Think laterally to sidestep production problems
17.10.2017 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

nachricht Spin current detection in quantum materials unlocks potential for alternative electronics
16.10.2017 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>