Aptamers are in vitro selected oligonucleotides (DNA, RNA, oligos with modified nucleotides) that can have high affinity and specificity for a broad range of potential targets with high affinity and specificity. Here we focus on their applications as biosensors in the diagnostic field, although they can also be used as therapeutic agents. A small number of peptide aptamers have also been identified. In analytical settings, aptamers have the potential to extend the limit of current techniques as they offer many advantages over antibodies and can be used for real-time biomarker detection, cancer clinical testing, and detection of infectious microorganisms and viruses. Once optimized and validated, aptasensor technologies are expected to be highly beneficial to clinicians by providing a larger range and more rapid output of diagnostic readings than current technologies and support personalized medicine and faster implementation of optimal treatments.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Analytical Chemistry
Aptamers are in vitro-selected, nucleic acids with unique abilities to bind strongly and specifically to their selective targets (ligands) based on their three-dimensional structures. Target binding is generally associated with a change in aptamer structure, which provides a means of linking many output signals to the binding event. Being synthetic, aptamers are less expensive compared to antibodies. Aptamers are also more easily modified chemically or their sequence changed to optimize properties such target specificity, storability and stability. In this chapter we will discuss the potential benefits of applying aptamers to diagnostics with a focus on infectious disease and the unique challenges posed by aptamers for their successful incorporation into reliable aptasensors.
Part of the book: E. Coli Infections