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Anal Biochem. 2008 Feb 1;373(1):121-8. Epub 2007 Oct 1.

Protein detection via direct enzymatic amplification of short DNA aptamers.

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  • 1BioSecurity and NanoSciences Laboratory, Chemistry, Materials, and Life Sciences Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94551, USA.


Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids that fold into defined tertiary structures to bind target molecules with high specificities and affinities. DNA aptamers have garnered much interest as recognition elements for biodetection and diagnostic applications due to their small size, ease of discovery and synthesis, and chemical and thermal stability. Here we describe the design and application of a short DNA molecule capable of both protein target binding and amplifiable bioreadout processes. Because both recognition and readout capabilities are incorporated into a single DNA molecule, tedious conjugation procedures required for protein-DNA hybrids can be omitted. The DNA aptamer is designed to be amplified directly by either polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or rolling circle amplification (RCA) processes, taking advantage of real-time amplification monitoring techniques for target detection. A combination of both RCA and PCR provides a wide protein target dynamic range (1 microM to 10 pM).

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