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Keywords:

  • Aptamer chips;
  • Bead-based selection;
  • Cancer biomarkers;
  • Thioaptamers;
  • X-aptamers

Antibodies have been extensively used as capture and detection reagents in diagnostic applications of proteomics-based technologies. Proteomic assays need high sensitivity and specificity, a wide dynamic range for detection, and accurate, reproducible quantification with small confidence values. However, several inherent limitations of monoclonal antibodies in meeting the emerging challenges of proteomics led to the development of a new class of oligonucleotide-based reagents. Natural and derivatized nucleic acid aptamers are emerging as promising alternatives to monoclonal antibodies. Aptamers can be effectively used to simultaneously detect thousands of proteins in multiplex discovery platforms, where antibodies often fail due to cross-reactivity problems. Through chemical modification, vast range of additional functional groups can be added at any desired position in the oligonucleotide sequence, therefore the best features of small molecule drugs, proteins, and antibodies can be brought together into aptamers, making aptamers the most versatile reagent in proteomics. In this review, we discuss the recent developments in aptamer technology, including new selection methods and the aptamers’ application in proteomics.