Modified nucleic acid aptamers: development, characterization, and biological applications

Published on ScienceDirect (10 June 2023)

Author(s): Danyang Ji, Hengxin Feng, Shiau Wei Liew, Chun Kit Kwok


Aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides that bind to their targets via specific structural interactions. To improve the properties and performance of aptamers, modified nucleotides are incorporated during or after a selection process such as systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX). We summarize the latest modified nucleotides and strategies used in modified (mod)-SELEX and post-SELEX to develop modified aptamers, highlight the methods used to characterize aptamer–target interactions, and present recent progress in modified aptamers that recognize different targets. We discuss the challenges and perspectives in further advancing the methodologies and toolsets to accelerate the discovery of modified aptamers, improve the throughput of aptamer-target characterization, and expand the functional diversity and complexity of modified aptamers.




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