Establishing technology to deliver nucleic acids into brown algae

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March 22, 2024

Developing a non-transgenic and simple technique to engineer brown algae

A joint research team of the RIKEN CSRS, Kyoto University, Keio University, and the University of Ryukyus successfully achieved the efficient delivery of nucleic acids (siRNA) into brown algae by developing nanoparticles decorated with phenylboronic acid (PBA) ligands targeting polysaccharides in brown algae’s mucus layers and the cell walls and boronic acid transporters on the plasma membrane.

Brown algae, including kelp, are industrially and ecologically significant species. However, few techniques have been established to regulate gene expression through the introduction of exogenous nucleic acids, which help understand brown algae’s properties.

In this study, the joint team demonstrated that the PBA decoration on peptide-based nanoparticles loaded with siRNA enhanced cellular uptake efficiency into a model brown alga, Ectocarpus siliculosus. With this approach, the introduced siRNAs successfully inhibited the expression of the target proteins in the brown alga cells.

This study achieved the temporary transformation of the brown alga through a non-transgenic approach, which would contribute to producing species resistant to the environment and promoting a better understanding of brown algae’s biological properties.

Original article
JACS Au doi: 10.1021/jacsau.3c00767
N. Yoshinaga, T. Miyamoto, M. Goto, A. Tanaka, K. Numata,
"Phenylboronic Acid-Functionalized Micelles Dual-Targeting Boronic Acid Transporter and Polysaccharides for siRNA Delivery into Brown Algae".
Keiji Numata; Team Leader
Naoto Yoshinaga; Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Biomacromolecules Research Team