Light-triggered nanobombs for intracellular delivery of functional macromolecules

01 October 2019 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Drug delivery cell transfection photoporation nanoparticles tissue engineering
Project description

Delivery of functional macromolecules, such as therapeutic nucleic acids, into cells requires overcoming the cell membrane. Photoporation is a recently developed technology that allows to transiently permeabilize the cell membrane through a combination of laser light and gold nanoparticles. Even though photoporation was successfully used to deliver functional molecules into a wide variety of cells, it has proven to be inefficient for very large macromolecules such as mRNA or pDNA. In this project, we propose the use of nanobombs as a new kind of engineered nanomaterials that can be used instead of gold nanoparticles for creating larger pores in cell membranes. Upon laser irradiation the nanobombs explode, thus propelling nanoparticles through space and into nearby cells (nanoprojectiles). This creates pores into the cell membrane whose size can be controlled according to the size of the nanoprojectiles. Either this allows functional molecules to diffuse from the surrounding medium through the pores into the cells, or the functional molecules can be actively loaded into cells if they are associated beforehand with the nanoprojectiles. Nanobombs will be systematically developed and tested for the intracellular delivery of macromolecules like mRNA or pDNA. Nanobomb-photoporation will be used for mRNA based reprogramming of induced neural crest cells (iNCC) into melanocytes or Schwann cells as a first step in the design of skin tissue models.