Genetically targeted chemical assembly of functional materials in living cells, tissues, and animals

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Science  20 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6484, pp. 1372-1376
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay4866

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From genetics to material to behavior

Introducing new genes into an organism can endow new biochemical functions or change the patterns of existing functions, but extending these manipulations to structure at the tissue level is challenging. Combining genetic engineering and polymer chemistry, Liu et al. directly leveraged complex cellular architectures of living organisms to synthesize, fabricate, and assemble bioelectronic materials (see the Perspective by Otto and Schmidt). An engineered enzyme expressed in genetically targeted neurons synthesized conductive polymers in tissues of freely moving animals. These polymers enabled modulation of membrane properties in specific neuron populations and manipulation of behavior in living animals.

Science, this issue p. 1372; see also p. 1303

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