Aptamers are small (usually from 20 to 60 nucleotides) single-stranded RNA or DNA oligonucleotides able to bind target molecules with high affinity and specificity, binding various targets, like simple inorganic molecules, 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. Moreover, aptamers are neither immunogenic nor toxic. These predominant characteristics make aptamers ideal candidates for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, purification of target molecules from complex mixtures, biosensor design, etc.
Mono- and polyclonal antibodies are routinely used for the diagnostics of various diseases. However, they can sometimes be successfully replaced by aptamers, especially when effective and specific binding to a target molecule is required. Aptamers can recognize a membrane-immobilized protein in Western blotting protocols more effectively than antibodies can. ELISA protocols are also more sensitive when aptamers are used instead of antibodies. Similar to antibodies, aptamers can be used to purify target proteins. Aptamers are promising therapeutic agents, and are also used as recognizing elements in biosensors. Besides, a special database has been created (http://aptamer.icmb.utexas.edu) to classify the aptamer-related data and provide access to information about numerous, existing aptamers.
Creative Biogene is a leading biotechnology company providing a full range of services to develop high quality customized aptamers products for research, diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
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