What aptamers are?
Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids (ssDNA and RNA) of short length that, depending on the sequence and environmental conditions, adopt defined three-dimensional structures, which enables them to bind stably and highly specific for their targets, ranging from small molecules to complex multimeric structures.
- Target detection and clinical diagnosis: aptamers can be used as biorecognizing molecules in different biosensor systems. They can be applied to very useful technique such as ELONA, Western Blot, Flow cytometry, microarrays, cytochemistry, histochemistry and others.
- Therapy: aptamers are capable to interfere in the biological function of its targets and also to be used for targeting and drug delivery.
- Research and biotechnology: the capability of aptamers to bind with high affinity and specificity to a target lets to be used in purification systems (Aptapurification).
Selection and production
Aptamer selection is an in vitro process that is performed by SELEX method (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment) from populations with a high diversity of sequences and, consequently, of structures. Aptus Biotech has developed own systems that optimize the selection process and identify the best aptamers.
The characterization of the interaction between selected aptamers populations or individual aptamers with the target is performed using different techniques such as SPR, ELISA, slot blot, or Western blot.
Aptamers production is performed by chemical synthesis, unlike most of the molecules that act in a similar manner, which confers significant advantages: cost, quality control and possibility to adapt/customize them.
Advantages of aptamers
Aptamers resemble antibodies in their functionality and different applications. They offer similar characteristics in terms of ability to bind with high specificity and affinity to their targets, however presenting significant advantages over antibodies:
- High reproducibility.
- Conservation: high stability at room temperature.
- No immunogenicity.
- Production by chemical synthesis.
- Low manufacturing cost.
- Quality control.
- Ability to adapt and customize features.
- Smaller size: greater ability to penetrate tissue and adhesion to target molecules.
- Without animal production.