Innovation and Partnerships Office

Cargo Delivery Across the Algal Cell Barrier Based on Guandinium-Rich Molecular Transporters JIB-3213


  • Delivery of molecules across algal cell wall
  • Photoautotrophic tool for synthetic biology
  • Drug discovery and screening
  • Bioremediation
  • Biosensors
  • Imaging of algae
  • Plant and agricultural science


  • Simple and inexpensive, utilizing any available GR-MoTr
  • Scalable
  • Applicable to multiple algal species
  • Small and large delivery cargoes
  • Improved understanding of biological barriers
  • Has potential extensions to plant cells


Stanford and Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a molecular method based on guanidinium-rich molecular transporters (GR-MoTrs) for bringing small and large cargos into algal cells. Developed using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, this method is also successful with less studied algae, thus providing a new and versatile tool for algal research.

Algae represent a potentially inexpensive, scalable, CO2-fixing, solar-powered source of diverse chemical products including biofuels, synthetic building blocks, nanomaterials, recombinant proteins, vaccines, antibodies, medicinal leads and food additives. Algae are also promising organisms for drug discovery and screening and have recognized value for bioremediation and as biosensors. However, as encountered in the delivery of agents (e.g., siRNA and biologics) into mammalian cells, efforts to study or control the inner-workings of algal cells, as required for numerous research and commercial applications, are severely limited by problems encountered in the delivery of probes, genes and biomacromolecules across algal cell wall and membrane barriers. This invention will help overcome these barriers.

STATUS: Published U. S. Patent Application 2015/0118704 available at Available for licensing through Stanford OTL, Stanford Reference 12-078:



Description at Stanford OTL website:

J. M. Hyman, E.I. Geihe, B.M. Trantow, B. Parvin, and P.A. Wender. A molecular method for the delivery of small molecules and proteins across the cell wall of algae using molecular transporters. PNAS August 14, 2012, vol. 109 no. 33, 13225-13230.

E.I. Geihe, C.B. Cooley, J.R. Simon, M.K. Kiesewetter, J.A. Edward, R.P. Hickerson, R.L. Kaspar, J.L. Hedrick, R.M. Waymouth, P.A. Wender. Designed guanidinium-rich amphipathic oligocarbonate molecular transporters complex, deliver and release siRNA in cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA August 14, 2012.

P.A. Wender, C.B. Cooley, E.I. Geihe. Beyond Cell Penetrating Peptides: Designed Molecular Transporters. Drug Discovery Today: Technologies 2011, e49-e55.

C.B. Cooley, B.M. Trantow, F. Nederberg, M.K. Kiesewetter, J.L. Hedrick, R.M. Waymouth, P.A. Wender. Oligocarbonate Molecular Transporters: Oligomerization Based Syntheses and Cell Penetrating Studies. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 16401-16403.


Production of Bacterial Microcompartments for Synthetic Biology Applications, IB-2013-014

Directing Biomolecules to Intracellular Microcompartments and Scaffolds, IB-2785

REFERENCE NUMBER: Berkeley Lab JIB-3213 / Stanford Reference 12-078