Enveloped Porous Nanoparticles for RNA Delivery to Insects

Grants and Contracts Details


The co-PIs have an existing collaboration on the uses of porous silica nanoparticles (pSNPs) because of their potential applications in the delivery of biological macromolecules to cells. This project manipulates both pSNPs pore size and the particle “envelope” (synthetic lipid bilayer) to demonstrate the protection and delivery of siRNA to insect cells. The overall project goal is to define optimal conditions for pSNP delivery of RNAs capable of inducing the RNAi response in insects. The Knutson/Rankin labs have expertise in pSNP synthesis with pore sizes from 2-12 nm and particles ranging from 50 nm to 10 ìm. Similar particles have delivered nucleic acids and proteins to vertebrate and invertebrate cells, with smaller particles entering cells with greater efficiency and particles having membranes causing less cytotoxicity. The proposed work develops approaches to broaden RNAi-based pest management by overcoming insect-specific abilities to uptake RNA, degrade RNA or process the delivered RNA to siRNA. We propose to first investigate the ability of pSNPs with and without a lipid membrane envelope to load, release, and protect siRNA directly, where the pore size is expected to be a primary factor in effective delivery and protection from RNAase. Second, we test the hypothesis that the pSNPs can be properly “enveloped” to provide effective uptake of these particles by insect cells, with subsequent release of siRNA to induce the RNAi response.
Effective start/end date1/1/158/31/17


  • Iowa State University: $130,000.00


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