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The chemical biology of aptamers

Mayer, G. (2009) The chemical biology of aptamers. Agewandte Chemie-International Edition, 48. pp. 2672-2689. ISSN 1433-7851

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Aptamers are small single-stranded oligonucleotides that fold into a well-defined 3D structure and interact with high affinity and specificity with their target molecules, thereby inhibiting their biological functions. Aptamers can be synthesized by either chemical and/or enzymatic procedures and can thus be considered as both chemical and biological substances. The current status and new developments in this area are described. Aptamers are small single-stranded nucleic acids that fold into a well-defined three-dimensional structure. They show a high affinity and specificity for their target molecules and inhibit their biological functions. Aptamers belong to the nucleic acids family and can be synthesized by chemical or enzymatic procedures, or a combination of the two. They can, therefore, be considered as both chemical and biological substances. This Review summarizes the most convenient approaches to their preparation and new developments in the field of aptamers. The application of aptamers in chemical biology is also discussed.