Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Dec;40(22):11777-83. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks899. Epub 2012 Oct 4.

Selection is more intelligent than design: improving the affinity of a bivalent ligand through directed evolution.

Author information

  • 1Interdepartmental Program in Biomolecular Science and Engineering, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 91306, USA.


Multivalent molecular interactions can be exploited to dramatically enhance the performance of an affinity reagent. The enhancement in affinity and specificity achieved with a multivalent construct depends critically on the effectiveness of the scaffold that joins the ligands, as this determines their positions and orientations with respect to the target molecule. Currently, no generalizable design rules exist for construction of an optimal multivalent ligand for targets with known structures, and the design challenge remains an insurmountable obstacle for the large number of proteins whose structures are not known. As an alternative to such design-based strategies, we report here a directed evolution-based method for generating optimal bivalent aptamers. To demonstrate this approach, we fused two thrombin aptamers with a randomized DNA sequence and used a microfluidic in vitro selection strategy to isolate scaffolds with exceptionally high affinities. Within five rounds of selection, we generated a bivalent aptamer that binds thrombin with an apparent dissociation constant (K(d)) <10 pM, representing a ∼200-fold improvement in binding affinity over the monomeric aptamers and a ∼15-fold improvement over the best designed bivalent construct. The process described here can be used to produce high-affinity multivalent aptamers and could potentially be adapted to other classes of biomolecules.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (5)Free text

Figure 1.
Figure 2.
Figure 3.
Figure 4.
Figure 5.
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk