Genetic engineering of plants is at the core of environmental sustainability efforts, natural product synthesis of pharmaceuticals, and agricultural crop engineering to meet the needs of a growing population changing global climate. The physical barrier presented by the cell wall has limited the ease and throughput with which exogenous biomolecules can be delivered to plants. Current techniques suffer from host range limitations, low transformation efficiencies, toxicity, and unavoidable DNA integration into the host genome.
In this seminar, Dr. Landry will describe efficient diffusion-based biomolecule delivery into several species of mature plants with a suite of pristine and chemically-functionalized high aspect ratio nanomaterials. Efficient DNA delivery and strong transient protein expression are accomplished in mature Eruca sativa (arugula-dicot) and Triticum aestivum (wheat-monocot) leaves and protoplasts. She will also describe a second nanoparticle-based strategy in which small interfering RNA (siRNA) is delivered to mature Nicotiana benthamiana leaves, to effectively silence a gene with 95% efficiency, and sustainable with repeated infiltrations of nanoparticle-grafted siRNA. The Landry lab’s work provides a promising tool for species-independent, targeted, and passive delivery of genetic material, without transgene integration, into plant cells for rapid and parallelizable testing of plant genotype-phenotype relationships.
High Aspect Ratio Nanomaterials Enable Biomolecule Delivery &
Transgene Expression or Silencing in Mature Plants
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
and Dept. of Plant & Microbial Biology
University of California, Berkeley