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Innovative engineering and sensing strategies for aptamer-based small-molecule detection

NCJ Number
Trac-Trends in Analytical Chemistry Volume: 121 Dated: 2019
Date Published

This study reviewed new approaches for the streamlined development of high-performance aptamer-based sensors for small-molecule detection.


Aptamers are nucleic acid-based affinity reagents that have gained widespread attention as biorecognition elements for the detection of targets such as ions, small molecules, and proteins. Over the past three decades, the field of aptamer-based sensing has grown considerably; however, the advancement of aptamer-based small-molecule detection has fallen short of the high demand for such sensors in applications such as diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and forensics. This is due to two challenges: the complexity of developing generalized sensing platforms and the poor sensitivities of assays targeting small molecules. The current study provides historical context, explores the current state-of-the art, and offers future directions—with emphasis on new aptamer engineering methods, the use of cooperative binding, and label-free approaches using fully-folded, high-affinity aptamers for small-molecule sensing. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019