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Genetically encoded nanostructures enable acoustic manipulation of engineered cells

Wu, Di and Baresch, Diego and Cook, Colin and Malounda, Dina and Maresca, David and Abundo, Maria Paulene and Mittelstein, David Reza and Shapiro, Mikhail G. (2019) Genetically encoded nanostructures enable acoustic manipulation of engineered cells. . (Unpublished)

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The ability to mechanically manipulate and control the spatial arrangement of biological materials is a critical capability in biomedicine and synthetic biology. Ultrasound has the ability to manipulate objects with high spatial and temporal precision via acoustic radiation force, but has not been used to directly control biomolecules or genetically defined cells. Here, we show that gas vesicles (GVs), a unique class of genetically encoded gas-filled protein nanostructures, can be directly manipulated and patterned by ultrasound and enable acoustic control of genetically engineered GV-expressing cells. Due to their differential density and compressibility relative to water, GVs experience sufficient acoustic radiation force to allow these biomolecules to be moved with acoustic standing waves, as demonstrated within microfluidic devices. Engineered variants of GVs differing in their mechanical properties enable multiplexed actuation and act as sensors of acoustic pressure. Furthermore, when expressed inside genetically engineered bacterial cells, GVs enable these cells to be selectively manipulated with sound waves, allowing patterning, focal trapping and translation with acoustic fields. This work establishes the first genetically encoded nanomaterial compatible with acoustic manipulation, enabling molecular and cellular control in a broad range of contexts.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Wu, Di0000-0002-6848-668X
Baresch, Diego0000-0002-8491-8542
Cook, Colin0000-0002-6283-5105
Malounda, Dina0000-0001-7086-9877
Maresca, David0000-0002-4921-6406
Abundo, Maria Paulene0000-0002-5122-6937
Mittelstein, David Reza0000-0001-8747-0483
Shapiro, Mikhail G.0000-0002-0291-4215
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. All rights reserved. No reuse allowed without permission. bioRxiv preprint first posted online Jul. 6, 2019. The authors thank James Friend and Aditya Vasan for helpful discussion, Hunter Davis for help with fluorescence microscopy, Zhiyang Jin for assistance with bacteria protein expression, Gabrielle Ho for assistance with electron microscopy, and Xiaozhe Ding for contribution to initial experiments. This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health (R01EB018975 to MGS), the Pew Scholarship in the Biomedical Sciences (to MGS) and the Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (to MGS). DW was supported by a Medical Engineering Amgen Fellowship. DB was supported by Newton International Fellowships (NF 161508). DMaresca was supported by the Human Frontiers Science Program Cross-Disciplinary Fellowship. MPA was supported by A*STAR. Author Contributions: DW, MGS, DB, and DMaresca conceived the study. DW and DB designed, planned, and conducted the experiments. DW, CC, and DRM designed and fabricated the acoustic devices. DW and DMalounda prepared the samples. DMaresca and MPA contributed to experiments. DW analyzed the data. DW and MGS wrote the manuscript with input from all authors. MGS supervised the research. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Pew Charitable TrustUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Medical Engineering Amgen FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Newton International FellowshipNF 161508
Human Frontier Science ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190709-073532026
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Genetically encoded nanostructures enable acoustic manipulation of engineered cells. Di Wu, Diego Baresch, Colin Cook, Dina Malounda, David Maresca, Maria Paulene Abundo, David Reza Mittelstein, Mikhail G. Shapiro. bioRxiv 691105; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:96938
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Jul 2019 14:46
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:24

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