Acoustically-mediated intracellular delivery†
Recent breakthroughs in gene editing have necessitated practical ex vivo methods to rapidly and efficiently re-engineer patient-harvested cells. Many physical membrane-disruption or pore-forming techniques for intracellular delivery, however, result in poor cell viability, while most carrier-mediated techniques suffer from suboptimal endosomal escape and hence cytoplasmic or nuclear targeting. In this work, we show that short exposure of cells to high frequency (>10 MHz) acoustic excitation facilitates temporal reorganisation of the lipid structure in the cell membrane that enhances translocation of gold nanoparticles and therapeutic molecules into the cell within just ten minutes. Due to its transient nature, rapid cell self-healing is observed, leading to high cellular viabilities (>97%). Moreover, the internalised cargo appears to be uniformly distributed throughout the cytosol, circumventing the need for strategies to facilitate endosomal escape. In the case of siRNA delivery, the method is seen to enhance gene silencing by over twofold, demonstrating its potential for enhancing therapeutic delivery into cells.