Sci Adv. 2020 Jun 24;6(26):eaaz0495. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz0495. eCollection 2020 Jun.
Posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS) is a powerful tool to understand and control plant metabolic pathways, which is central to plant biotechnology. PTGS is commonly accomplished through delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) into cells. Standard plant siRNA delivery methods (Agrobacterium and viruses) involve coding siRNA into DNA vectors and are only tractable for certain plant species. Here, we develop a nanotube-based platform for direct delivery of siRNA and show high silencing efficiency in intact plant cells. We demonstrate that nanotubes successfully deliver siRNA and silence endogenous genes, owing to effective intracellular delivery and nanotube-induced protection of siRNA from nuclease degradation. This study establishes that nanotubes could enable a myriad of plant biotechnology applications that rely on RNA delivery to intact cells.