Using RNA Aptamers and the Proximity Ligation Assay for the Detection of Cell Surface Antigens

  • Supriya S. Pai
  • Andrew D. Ellington
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 504)


The detection and typing of tumor cells based on differentially or similarly expressed antigens (biomarkers) have proven to be increasingly important for the diagnosis and treatment of various cancers. Sensitive techniques for the detection of cell surface antigens are therefore crucial for the early and accurate detection of cancer. Although techniques such as ELISA and tissue staining have proven their worth, these techniques often either require substantial amounts of starting material or are prone to high background and false negatives. The proximity ligation assay (PLA) has proven to be an exquisitely sensitive technique with very low background. Two probes that bind adjacent to one another on a protein target can be ligated, yielding a unique amplicon that can be sensitively detected by real-time PCR. We have now adapted PLA to cell surface protein targets using modified RNA aptamers, and have shown that aptamer-based cell surface PLA can successfully detect and differentiate between cells that differentially express a tumor antigen, the prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA).

Key words

Proximity ligation PLA Aptamer Selection Real-time PCR Detection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Supriya S. Pai
    • 1
  • Andrew D. Ellington
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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