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