Roboplasmid: A remotely programmable plasmid for rapid viral inactivation

A. Kalra, K. Jayarapu
Carmel High School,
United States

Keywords: CRISPR-Cas9, antiviral, nanomedicine, nanotechnology, plasmid


For eons, humankind has been plagued by viral infections that have decimated populations and caused mass trauma; we lack a system that can simply inactivate any virus at will. Here we describe a model for a non-nucleotide-based, robotic plasmid that could act as a sentry and participate in a swift viral inactivation response using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. This “Roboplasmid” would be delivered via lipid nanoparticles to various cells in the body and would not only serve as a repository for trans-activating CRISPR RNA (tracrRNA) and Cas9-coding sequences, but also contain a programmable sequence locus that can customize CRISPR RNA (crRNA) sequences by inducing charges with an in vivo capacitor that are complementary to the partial charges of functional groups of the complementary nucleotide involved in hydrogen bonding during transcription. When a viral infection is detected, the electric charge (and thus nucleotide) at each electrode on the programmable locus can be coded to induce complementarity with the viral target sequence via wireless transmission from a piezoelectric zinc (II) oxide nanogenerator, after which the sequences can be transcribed by host RNA polymerases, and interference, viral strand cleavage, and subsequent viral inactivation are possible. Engineering this device to resemble human DNA, can allow us to take advantage of its coordination with other host enzymes to provide minimal “artificiality” within the body. Creating Roboplasmids with nanoscale 3D printers, conducting in vitro tests, and routinely having intravascular injections of plasmids into the body can provide a timely intervention that can eventually eradicate all human viruses.