Fluorescent Aptamer Sensors
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Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acid probes that can be evolved to have high specificity and affinity for different targets. These targets include biomar-ker proteins, small molecules, and even whole live cells that express a variety of surface proteins of interest. Aptamers offer several advantages over protein-based molecular probes such as low immunogenic activity, flexible modification, and in vitro synthesis. In addition, aptamers used as molecular probes can be made with easy signaling for binding with their corresponding targets. There are a few different fluorescence-based signal transduction mechanisms, such as direct fluorophore labeling, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), fluorescence quenching, fluorescence anisotropy, and light-switching excimers. These signaling processes in combination with various labeling strategies of nucleic acid aptamers contribute to simple, rapid, sensitive, and selective biological assays. In this chapter, we discuss the optical signaling of aptamers for single proteins such as α-thrombin and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). We also present detailed discussion about fluorescent aptamers developed from cell-based systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) for the recognition of different target tumor cells.
KeywordsAcute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Fluorescence Anisotropy Signal Transduction Mechanism Aptamer Probe
The authors thank our group members, whose work is reported here. We also thank the NIH and NSF for grants for financial support.
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