What are DNA aptamers?
What are DNA aptamers?
Aptamers are a special class of nucleic acid molecules that are beginning to be investigated for clinical use. These small RNA/DNA molecules can form secondary and tertiary structures capable of specifically binding proteins or other cellular targets; they are essentially a chemical equivalent of antibodies.
What is the purpose of aptamers?
Aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides that fold into defined architectures and bind to targets such as proteins. In binding proteins they often inhibit protein–protein interactions and thereby may elicit therapeutic effects such as antagonism.
How are aptamers designed?
Aptamers are generated via an in vitro process known as the Systematic Evolution of Ligands by EXponential enrichment, also known as SELEX. Tuerk and Gold (1990), aiming to find an RNA aptamer sequence that would bind T4 DNA polymerase, first termed the process.
What is the difference between aptamer and antibody?
They are in general more stable than antibodies, and have a longer shelf life. Aptamers are produced through a simple and inexpensive process and the time required to generate aptamers is comparatively short. Unlike antibodies, aptamers do not need animals or an immune response for their production.
Who invented aptamers?
Gold, co-inventor of the technology for making aptamers from nucleic acids, is founder, chairman of the board, and CEO of Soma-Logic, in Boulder, Colo. De Souza is president and CEO of Archemix, in Cambridge, Mass. Between them, these two biotechnology companies own virtually the entire aptamer patent estate.
What can aptamers bind to?
Aptamers are short, single-stranded DNA or RNA (ssDNA or ssRNA) molecules that can selectively bind to a specific target, including proteins, peptides, carbohydrates, small molecules, toxins, and even live cells. Aptamers assume a variety of shapes due to their tendency to form helices and single-stranded loops.
Are aptamers cheaper than antibodies?
Currently, a large number of generated aptamers can bind various targets, ranging from simple inorganic molecules to large protein complexes, and entire cells. In fact, aptamers are nucleotide analogues of antibodies, but aptamer-generation is significantly easier and cheaper than the production of antibodies [6, 7].
What do aptamers bind?
Can aptamers replace antibodies?
Aptamers can be effectively used in both biotechnology and clinical medicine. They can be beneficial for diagnostic methods in clinical oncology and ophthalmology. Aptamers can replace antibodies in different detection methods. In particular, aptamers are used in an ELISA-based detection assay called ELASA (Figure 3).
Are aptamers natural?
Although some aptamers exist naturally as the ligand-binding elements of riboswitches, most are generated in vitro and can be tailored for a specific target.
Are aptamers immunogenic?
Aptamers demonstrate an affinity and specificity similar to those of monoclonal antibodies. Meanwhile, aptamers are non-immunogenic and demonstrate high tissue penetration similar to that of small molecules.
Why are aptamers more stable than antibodies?
They bind their target with affinity similar or higher than antibodies. They are 10 fold smaller than antibodies and can be chemically-modified at will in a defined and precise way. They can be easily stored and delivered ; they can be reversibly heat-denatured.