What are Aptamers?

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Overview:

A team of researchers recently developed an electronic biosensor based on DNA aptamers that can detect biomarkers in whole blood samples without the use of reagents.

About Aptamers: 

  • They are short, single-stranded DNA or RNA (ssDNA or ssRNA) molecules that can selectively bind to a specific target, including proteins, peptides, carbohydrates, small molecules, toxins, and even live cells.
  • Aptamers assume a variety of shapes due to their tendency to form helices and single-stranded loops. 
  • They can be used as an antibody alternative in a variety of therapeutic, diagnostic, and target-binding applications.
  • They can also be readily conjugated to gold nanoparticles or quantum dots as a basis for point-of-care diagnostics.
  • Aptamers have been successfully used for the diagnosis and therapy of a broad spectrum of pathogens including bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

What is a Biomarker?

  • It is a biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease. 
  • A biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition.

 


Q1) What is RNA?

RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) is a type of nucleic acid that is essential for the coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of genes. It is made up of a single strand of nucleotides, each consisting of a nitrogenous base (adenine, cytosine, guanine, or uracil), a five-carbon sugar (ribose), and a phosphate group.

Source:  Study finds antibody substitutes for biosensing