What are aptamers ?

About nucleic acid aptamers & in vitro selection

about nucleic acid aptamers in vitro selection process novaptech

Aptamers : a definition

Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) that fold into complex structures. They are able to bind with high affinity and specificity to a pre-determined target. They can be defined as “artificial antibodies”. Aptamers are selected from a randomly synthesized oligonucleotide library containing about 1015 different sequences through an iterative in vitro selection process alternating binding and amplification steps.

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The in vitro selection process

Selection of aptamers is achieved by mixing the target with the library. Partitioning between target-bound and free sequences is performed by various methods : filtration, chromatography, centrifugation. Target-bound oligonucleotides are PCR-amplified and the resulting pool is mixed with the target under increased selection pressure. The procedure is repeated several times. Among millions of sequences, the strongest binders will «survive » the directed evolution. Aptamers are identified following sequencing.

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