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Curr Med Chem. 2011;18(27):4175-84.

Aptamer-based fluorescent biosensors.

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Department of Chemistry, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA.


Selected from random pools of DNA or RNA molecules through systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX), aptamers can bind to target molecules with high affinity and specificity, which makes them ideal recognition elements in the development of biosensors. To date, aptamer-based biosensors have used a wide variety of detection techniques, which are briefly summarized in this article. The focus of this review is on the development of aptamer-based fluorescent biosensors, with emphasis on their design as well as properties such as sensitivity and specificity. These biosensors can be broadly divided into two categories: those using fluorescently-labeled aptamers and others that employ label-free aptamers. Within each category, they can be further divided into "signal-on" and "signal-off" sensors. A number of these aptamer-based fluorescent biosensors have shown promising results in biological samples such as urine and serum, suggesting their potential applications in biomedical research and disease diagnostics.

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