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Science. 2019 Aug 23;365(6455):780-785. doi: 10.1126/science.aaw5122.

Programmable CRISPR-responsive smart materials.

English MA#1,2, Soenksen LR#2,3,4, Gayet RV#1,2,5, de Puig H#2,4, Angenent-Mari NM#1,2,4, Mao AS#2,4,6, Nguyen PQ4,6, Collins JJ7,2,4,8,9,10.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
2
Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
4
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
5
Microbiology Graduate Program, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
6
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
7
Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. jimjc@mit.edu.
8
Synthetic Biology Center, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
9
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.
10
Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

Stimuli-responsive materials activated by biological signals play an increasingly important role in biotechnology applications. We exploit the programmability of CRISPR-associated nucleases to actuate hydrogels containing DNA as a structural element or as an anchor for pendant groups. After activation by guide RNA-defined inputs, Cas12a cleaves DNA in the gels, thereby converting biological information into changes in material properties. We report four applications: (i) branched poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels releasing DNA-anchored compounds, (ii) degradable polyacrylamide-DNA hydrogels encapsulating nanoparticles and live cells, (iii) conductive carbon-black-DNA hydrogels acting as degradable electrical fuses, and (iv) a polyacrylamide-DNA hydrogel operating as a fluidic valve with an electrical readout for remote signaling. These materials allow for a range of in vitro applications in tissue engineering, bioelectronics, and diagnostics.

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PMID:
31439791
DOI:
10.1126/science.aaw5122

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