A Caltech Library Service

Gold-Nanocluster-Mediated Delivery of siRNA to Intact Plant Cells for Efficient Gene Knockdown

Zhang, Huan and Cao, Yuhong and Xu, Dawei and Goh, Natalie S. and Demirer, Gozde S. and Cestellos-Blanco, Stefano and Cheng, Yuan and Landry, Markita P. and Yang, Peidong (2021) Gold-Nanocluster-Mediated Delivery of siRNA to Intact Plant Cells for Efficient Gene Knockdown. Nano Letters, 21 (13). pp. 5859-5866. ISSN 1530-6984. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c01792.

[img] PDF (Detailed materials and methods section) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF (Size and charge characterization of AuNCs, oligo sequences used in the study, representative confocal micrographs of treated plants, Western blot gels, and additional qPCR studies of AuNC endogenous gene silencing and biocompatibility) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


RNA interference, which involves the delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA), has been used to validate target genes, to understand and control cellular metabolic pathways, and to use as a “green” alternative to confer pest tolerance in crops. Conventional siRNA delivery methods such as viruses and Agrobacterium-mediated delivery exhibit plant species range limitations and uncontrolled DNA integration into the plant genome. Here, we synthesize polyethylenimine-functionalized gold nanoclusters (PEI-AuNCs) to mediate siRNA delivery into intact plants and show that these nanoclusters enable efficient gene knockdown. We further demonstrate that PEI-AuNCs protect siRNA from RNase degradation while the complex is small enough to bypass the plant cell wall. Consequently, AuNCs enable gene knockdown with efficiencies of up 76.5 ± 5.9% and 76.1 ± 9.5% for GFP and ROQ1, respectively, with no observable toxicity. Our data suggest that AuNCs can deliver siRNA into intact plant cells for broad applications in plant biotechnology.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Demirer, Gozde S.0000-0002-3007-1489
Landry, Markita P.0000-0002-5832-8522
Yang, Peidong0000-0003-4799-1684
Additional Information:© 2021 American Chemical Society. Received 11 May 2021. Revised 17 June 2021. Published online 21 June 2021. Published in issue 14 July 2021. We acknowledge support from a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface (CASI), a Stanley Fahn PDF Junior Faculty Grant under award no. PF-JFA-1760, a Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award, a USDA AFRI award, a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a USDA NIFA award, a USDA-BBT EAGER award, an NSF CAREER award, the Dreyfus Foundation, the Chan-Zuckerberg foundation, and an FFAR New Innovator Award (to M.P.L.). Work at the Molecular Foundry was supported by the Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The authors acknowledge the support of the BASF-CARA program. We acknowledge support from the Keck Foundation (Grant 89208), and H.Z. acknowledges the support of the start-up fund from Jinan University (88016105). N.S.G. is supported by a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Fellowship. G.S.D. is supported by a Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship and the Resnick Sustainability Institute. The authors also acknowledge support from the UC Berkeley Molecular Imaging Center (supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation), the QB3 Shared Stem Cell Facility, and the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI). Author Contributions: H.Z. and Y.C. contributed equally to this work. Yuhong C., H.Z., M.P.L., and P.Y. conceived the idea and designed the study. H.Z. and Yuhong C. performed the majority of the experiments and data analysis. H.Z., Yuhong C, S.C.-B., M.P.L., and P.Y. wrote or revised the manuscript. D.X. assisted in gold nanocluster synthesis. Yuan C. helped with plant seeding and maintenance. G.S.D and N.S.G. helped analyze the results. All authors edited the manuscript and approved the final version. The authors declare no competing financial interest.
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Burroughs Wellcome FundUNSPECIFIED
Parkinson's FoundationPF-JFA-1760
Arnold and Mabel Beckman FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of AgricultureUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Camille and Henry Dreyfus FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Chan-Zuckerberg FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Foundation for Food ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH11231
W. M. Keck Foundation89208
Jinan University88016105
Schlumberger FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Innovative Genomics InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:gold nanoclusters; siRNA; delivery; gene silencing; plants
Issue or Number:13
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220302-323745000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Gold-Nanocluster-Mediated Delivery of siRNA to Intact Plant Cells for Efficient Gene Knockdown Huan Zhang, Yuhong Cao, Dawei Xu, Natalie S. Goh, Gozde S. Demirer, Stefano Cestellos-Blanco, Yuan Chen, Markita P. Landry, and Peidong Yang Nano Letters 2021 21 (13), 5859-5866 DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c01792
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113693
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:03 Mar 2022 19:23
Last Modified:03 Mar 2022 19:23

Repository Staff Only: item control page