Engineered cell–nanostructured interfaces generated by vertically aligned silicon nanowire (SiNW) arrays have become a promising platform for orchestrating cell behavior, function, and fate. However, the underlying mechanism in SiNW-mediated intracellular access and delivery is still poorly understood. This study demonstrates the development of a gene delivery platform based on conical SiNW arrays for mechanical cell transfection, assisted by centrifugal force, for both adherent and nonadherent cells in vitro. Cells form focal adhesions on SiNWs within 6 h, and maintain high viability and motility. Such a functional and dynamic cell–SiNW interface features conformational changes in the plasma membrane and in some cases the nucleus, promoting both direct penetration and endocytosis; this synergistically facilitates SiNW-mediated delivery of nucleic acids into immortalized cell lines, and into difficult-to-transfect primary immune T cells without pre-activation. Moreover, transfected cells retrieved from SiNWs retain the capacity to proliferate—crucial to future biomedical applications. The results indicate that SiNW-mediated intracellular delivery holds great promise for developing increasingly sophisticated investigative and therapeutic tools.
- cellular deformations
- gene delivery
- immune cells
- silicon nanowires
Sean Langelier (Manager)Office of the Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure)
Georg Ramm (Manager), Viola M.J. Oorschot (Operator), Simon Andrew Crawford (Operator), Hariprasad Venugopal (Operator), Joan Marea Clark (Operator) & Gediminas Gervinskas (Operator)Office of the Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure)