Photonic gene circuits by optically addressable siRNA-Au nanoantennas

Somin Eunice Lee, Darryl Y. Sasaki, Younggeun Park, Ren Xu, James S. Brennan, Mina J. Bissell, Luke P. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The precise perturbation of gene circuits and the direct observation of signaling pathways in living cells are essential for both fundamental biology and translational medicine. Current optogenetic technology offers a new paradigm of optical control for cells; however, this technology relies on permanent genomic modifications with light-responsive genes, thus limiting dynamic reconfiguration of gene circuits. Here, we report precise control of perturbation and reconfiguration of gene circuits in living cells by optically addressable siRNA-Au nanoantennas. The siRNA-Au nanoantennas fulfill dual functions as selectively addressable optical receivers and biomolecular emitters of small interfering RNA (siRNA). Using siRNA-Au nanoantennas as optical inputs to existing circuit connections, photonic gene circuits are constructed in living cells. We show that photonic gene circuits are modular, enabling subcircuits to be combined on-demand. Photonic gene circuits open new avenues for engineering functional gene circuits useful for fundamental bioscience, bioengineering, and medical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7770-7780
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 25 2012


  • RNA interference
  • gene delivery
  • gene therapy
  • gold nanorod
  • optogenetics
  • plasmonics
  • siRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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