Research Article

Programmable CRISPR-responsive smart materials

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Science  23 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6455, pp. 780-785
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw5122

A CRISPR set of materials

CRISPR technology is best known as a gene editing tool. English et al. developed a group of stimuli-responsive hydrogels to respond to the programmable nuclease Cas12a (see the Perspective by Han et al.). The materials undergo molecular to macroscopic changes after Cas12a-dependent cleavage of double- or single-stranded DNA integrated into the gel. The authors show controlled release of particles linked to or imprisoned within the DNA, degradation of a gel with DNA solely forming the cross-links, and permeabilization of a gel with DNA partially forming the cross-links. These tools allow for the production of materials that release encapsulated nanoparticles and cells, act as degradable fuses, and enable remote radio-frequency identification signaling.

Science, this issue p. 780; see also p. 754

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