Nano-Regulation of Gene Expression in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: Harnessing AuNPs for Remotely Switchable Lipid Biosynthesis via Antisense Oligonucleotides

Nahid Rafiei, Hossein Alishah Aratboni, Abbas Alemzadeh*, Santiago Saavedra-Alonso, Hooman Razi, José Rubén Morones-Ramírez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)-mediated gene silencing has broad applications, spanning from biomedicine to agriculture, involving molecular biology, synthetic biology, and genetic manipulation. This research harnessed nanotechnology to augment ASO-mediated gene silencing, introducing a remotely switchable gene expression system for precise temporal control. We targeted lipid biosynthesis and accumulation enhancement in the photosynthetic eukaryote Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) transported double-stranded DNA (dsDNA), forming dsDNA-AuNP complexes. These complexes comprised 3′-thiolated sense strands attached to AuNPs and fluorescent antisense oligonucleotides. To avoid harmful laser effects on cells, we adopted a light-emitting diode (LED). Confocal microscopy confirmed dsDNA-AuNP internalization in C. reinhardtii. LED-triggered antisense release led to an 83% decrease in Citrate Synthase 2 (CIS 2) expression. Thiolated sense strand attachment postillumination inhibited antisense reannealing, enhancing gene silencing. This led to significant lipid body accumulation in cells, verified through fluorometric and fluorescence microscopy. This union of nanotechnology and ASO-mediated silencing provides gene regulation opportunities across sectors like biomedicine and agriculture. The system’s remote switching capability underscores its potential in synthetic biology and genetic engineering. Our findings substantiate the utility of this approach for enhancing lipid biosynthesis in C. reinhardtii but also underscores its broader applicability to other organisms, fostering the development of novel solutions for pressing global challenges in energy, agriculture, and healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 American Chemical Society

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Nano-Regulation of Gene Expression in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: Harnessing AuNPs for Remotely Switchable Lipid Biosynthesis via Antisense Oligonucleotides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this