Regulating plant physiology with organic electronics
PNAS 2017, 114(18):4597-4602
Poxson D J, Karady M, Gabrielsson R, Alkattan A Y, Gustavsson A, Doyle S M, Robert S, Ljung K, Grebe M, Simon D T, Berggren M

The organic electronic ion pump (OEIP) provides flow-free and accurate delivery of small signaling compounds at high spatiotemporal resolution. To date, the application of OEIPs has been limited to delivery of nonaromatic molecules to mammalian systems, particularly for neuroscience applications. However, many long-standing questions in plant biology remain unanswered due to a lack of technology that precisely delivers plant hormones, based on cyclic alkanes or aromatic structures, to regulate plant physiology. Here, we report the employment of OEIPs for the delivery of the plant hormone auxin to induce differential concentration gradients and modulate plant physiology. We fabricated OEIP devices based on a synthesized dendritic polyelectrolyte that enables electrophoretic transport of aromatic substances. Delivery of auxin to transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings in vivo was monitored in real time via dynamic fluorescent auxin-response reporters and induced physiological responses in roots. Our results provide a starting point for technologies enabling direct, rapid, and dynamic electronic interaction with the biochemical regulation systems of plants.
E-link to publication