English, Soenksen, Gayet, de Puig, Angenent-Mari, Mao, Nguyen, Collins (2019) Programmable CRISPR-responsive smart materials Science (New York, N.Y.) 365(6455) 780-785


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. Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.