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 Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics
25.04.2017 | University of Delaware

nachricht Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging
24.04.2017 | Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>