Alessandro Porchetta , Alexis Vallée-Bélisle , Kevin W. Plaxco , and Francesco Ricci
"Here we demonstrate multiple, complementary approaches by which to tune, extend or narrow the dynamic range of aptamer-based sensors. Specifically, we have employed both distal site mutations and allosteric control to tune the affinity and dynamic range of a fluorescent aptamer beacon. We show that allosteric control, achieved by using a set of easily designed oligonucleotide inhibitors that competes against the folding of the aptamer, allows to rationally and finely tune the affinity of our model aptamer across three orders of magnitude of target concentration with greater precision than that achieved using mutational approaches. Using these methods we generate sets of aptamers varying significantly in target affinity, which we then combined to recreate several of the mechanisms employed by nature to both narrow and broaden the dynamic range of biological receptors. Such ability to finely control the affinity and dynamic range of aptamers may find many applications in synthetic biology, drug delivery and targeted therapies, fields in which aptamers are of rapidly growing importance."
Shiping Song, Lihua Wang, Jiang Li, Jianlong Zhao, Chunhai Fan
"Nucleic-acid aptamers have attracted intense interest and found wide app- lications in a range of areas. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the development of aptamer-based biosensors and bioassay methods, most of which have employed electrochemical, optical and mass-sensitive analytical techniques. Aptamers exhibit many advantages as recognition elements in biosensing when compared to traditional antibodies. They are small in size, chemically stable and cost effective. More importantly, aptamers offer re- markable flexibility and convenience in the design of their structures, which has led to novel biosensors that have exhibited high sensitivity and selecti- vity. Recently, the combination of aptamers with novel nanomaterials has significantly improved the performance of aptamer-based sensors, which we also review in this article. In view of the unprecedented advantages brought by aptamers, we expect aptamer-based biosensors to find broad applications in biomedical diagnostics, environmental monitoring and homeland security."