Agriculture and Food Chemistry

Carrier Gas Triggered Controlled Biolistic Delivery of DNA and Protein Therapeutics from Metal-Organic Frameworks



Abstract: The efficacy and specificity of protein, DNA, and RNA-based drugs have made them popular in the clinic; however, their susceptibility to environmental stressors adds significant challenges to formulating biomacromolecules into delivery systems where the kinetics of release can be tuned. Further, these drugs are often delivered via injection, which requires skilled medical personnel and produces biohazardous waste. Here, we report an approach that allows for the controlled delivery of DNA and protein therapeutics to allow for either burst or slow-release kinetics without altering the formulation; further, we show we can deliver these materials into the tissues of very different organisms without the use of needles. We show that biomaterials encapsulated within the highly porous metal-organic Framework ZIF-8 are stable as a powder formulation that can be shot into tissue with a low-cost gas-powered “MOF-Jet” for direct delivery into living tissues of plants and animals and the release of the biomaterials can be controlled by judiciously choosing the compressed gas used in the gun. Many MOFs, including ZIF-8, are acid labile and readily dissolve at low pH. When CO2 is used as the carrier gas to shoot MOFs into moist tissue, we show that we can create a transient and weakly acidic local environment that causes the near-instantaneous release of the biomolecules. Conversely, when air is used, the MOF is delivered into tissue and degrades slowly over a week, releasing biomolecules. This innovation represents the first example of biolistic-mediated controlled delivery of biomolecules with ZIF-8 and provides a powerful tool for fundamental and applied plant and animal sciences research.


Thumbnail image of Revised MOF-Gun draft.pdf

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