Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have shown that cell-penetrating peptides (CPP*) can be used to introduce plasmid DNA into plants by spraying. Depending on the DNA carried by the plasmid, the researchers showed that they could express foreign proteins in the plant, introduce interfering RNA which silences specific plant genes, target mitochondria or chloroplasts, or increase the number of pores of the leaves allowing for better transport of foreign compounds into the plant, e. g. pesticides.
*CPP are a group of basic peptides containing arginine. They form complexes with DNA.
2022/02 Nanocarriers may lead to pest-resistant crops without changing the plant genome