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J Gen Virol. 2006 Mar;87(Pt 3):479-87.

An RNA aptamer that distinguishes between closely related human influenza viruses and inhibits haemagglutinin-mediated membrane fusion.

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Institute for Biological Resources and Functions, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Central 6, 1-1 Higashi, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki 305-8566, Japan.


Aptamers selected against various kinds of targets have shown remarkable specificity and affinity, similar to those displayed by antibodies to their antigens. To employ aptamers as genotyping reagents for the identification of pathogens and their strains, in vitro selections were carried out to find aptamers that specifically bind and distinguish the closely related human influenza A virus subtype H3N2. The selected aptamer, P30-10-16, binds specifically to the haemagglutinin (HA) region of the target strain A/Panama/2007/1999(H3N2) and failed to recognize other human influenza viruses, including another strain with the same subtype, H3N2. The aptamer displayed over 15-fold-higher affinity to the HA compared with the monoclonal antibody, and efficiently inhibited HA-mediated membrane fusion. These studies delineate the application of aptamers in the genotyping of viruses.

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