It has been 20 years since aptamer and SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) were described independently by Andrew Ellington and Larry Gold. Based on the great advantages of aptamers, there have been numerous isolated aptamers for various targets that have actively been applied as therapeutic and analytical tools. Over 2,000 papers related to aptamers or SELEX have been published, attesting to their wide usefulness and the applicability of aptamers. SELEX methods have been modified or re-created over the years to enable aptamer isolation with higher affinity and selectivity in more labor- and time-efficient manners, including automation. Initially, most of the studies about aptamers have focused on the protein targets, which have physiological functions in the body, and their applications as therapeutic agents or receptors for diagnostics. However, aptamers for small molecules such as organic or inorganic compounds, drugs, antibiotics, or metabolites have not been studied sufficiently, despite the ever-increasing need for rapid and simple analytical methods for various chemical targets in the fields of medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, food safety, and national defense against targets including chemical warfare. This review focuses on not only recent advances in aptamer screening methods but also its analytical application for small molecules.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology