Implantable Organic Electronic Ion Pump Enables ABA Hormone Delivery for Control of Stomata in an Intact Tobacco Plant
Small. 2019 Sep 12:e1902189 [Epub ahead of print]
Bernacka-Wojcik I, Huerta M, Tybrandt K, Karady M, Mulla MY, Poxson DJ, Gabrielsson EO, Ljung K, Simon DT, Berggren M, Stavrinidou E

Abstract
Electronic control of biological processes with bioelectronic devices holds promise for sophisticated regulation of physiology, for gaining fundamental understanding of biological systems, providing new therapeutic solutions, and digitally mediating adaptations of organisms to external factors. The organic electronic ion pump (OEIP) provides a unique means for electronically-controlled, flow-free delivery of ions, and biomolecules at cellular scale. Here, a miniaturized OEIP device based on glass capillary fibers (c-OEIP) is implanted in a biological organism. The capillary form factor at the sub-100 µm scale of the device enables it to be implanted in soft tissue, while its hyperbranched polyelectrolyte channel and addressing protocol allows efficient delivery of a large aromatic molecule. In the first example of an implantable bioelectronic device in plants, the c-OEIP readily penetrates the leaf of an intact tobacco plant with no significant wound response (evaluated up to 24 h) and effectively delivers the hormone abscisic acid (ABA) into the leaf apoplast. OEIP-mediated delivery of ABA, the phytohormone that regulates plant's tolerance to stress, induces closure of stomata, the microscopic pores in leaf's epidermis that play a vital role in photosynthesis and transpiration. Efficient and localized ABA delivery reveals previously unreported kinetics of ABA-induced signal propagation.

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