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      Nucleic Acid Aptamers: Emerging Applications in Medical Imaging, Nanotechnology, Neurosciences, and Drug Delivery

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          Abstract

          Recent progresses in organic chemistry and molecular biology have allowed the emergence of numerous new applications of nucleic acids that markedly deviate from their natural functions. Particularly, DNA and RNA molecules—coined aptamers—can be brought to bind to specific targets with high affinity and selectivity. While aptamers are mainly applied as biosensors, diagnostic agents, tools in proteomics and biotechnology, and as targeted therapeutics, these chemical antibodies slowly begin to be used in other fields. Herein, we review recent progress on the use of aptamers in the construction of smart DNA origami objects and MRI and PET imaging agents. We also describe advances in the use of aptamers in the field of neurosciences (with a particular emphasis on the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases) and as drug delivery systems. Lastly, the use of chemical modifications, modified nucleoside triphosphate particularly, to enhance the binding and stability of aptamers is highlighted.

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          Most cited references267

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          Systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment: RNA ligands to bacteriophage T4 DNA polymerase.

          L Gold, C Tuerk (1990)
          High-affinity nucleic acid ligands for a protein were isolated by a procedure that depends on alternate cycles of ligand selection from pools of variant sequences and amplification of the bound species. Multiple rounds exponentially enrich the population for the highest affinity species that can be clonally isolated and characterized. In particular one eight-base region of an RNA that interacts with the T4 DNA polymerase was chosen and randomized. Two different sequences were selected by this procedure from the calculated pool of 65,536 species. One is the wild-type sequence found in the bacteriophage mRNA; one is varied from wild type at four positions. The binding constants of these two RNA's to T4 DNA polymerase are equivalent. These protocols with minimal modification can yield high-affinity ligands for any protein that binds nucleic acids as part of its function; high-affinity ligands could conceivably be developed for any target molecule.
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            Aptamers as therapeutics

            Key Points Aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides that fold into defined architectures and bind to targets such as proteins. In binding proteins they often inhibit protein–protein interactions and thereby may elicit therapeutic effects such as antagonism. Aptamers are discovered using SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment), a directed in vitro evolution technique in which large libraries of degenerate oligonucleotides are iteratively and alternately partitioned for target binding. They are then amplified enzymatically until functional sequences are identified by the sequencing of cloned individuals. For most therapeutic purposes, aptamers are truncated to reduce synthesis costs, modified at the sugars and capped at their termini to increase nuclease resistance, and conjugated to polyethylene glycol or another entity to reduce renal filtration rates. The first aptamer approved for a therapeutic application was pegaptanib sodium (Macugen; Pfizer/Eyetech), which was approved in 2004 by the US Food and Drug Administration for macular degeneration. Eight other aptamers are currently undergoing clinical evaluation for various haematology, oncology, ocular and inflammatory indications. Aptamers are ultimately chemically synthesized in a readily scalable process in which specific conjugation points are introduced with defined stereochemistry. Unlike some protein therapeutics, aptamers do not elicit antibodies, and because aptamers generally contain sugars modified at their 2′-positions, Toll-like receptor-mediated innate immune responses are also abrogated. As aptamers are oligonucleotides they can be readily assembled into supramolecular multi-component structures using hybridization. Owing to the fact that binding to appropriate cell-surface targets can lead to internalization, aptamers can also be used to deliver therapeutic cargoes such as small interfering RNA. Supramolecular assemblies of aptamers and delivery agents have already been demonstrated in vivo and may pave the way for further therapeutic strategies with this modality in the future.
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              A logic-gated nanorobot for targeted transport of molecular payloads.

              We describe an autonomous DNA nanorobot capable of transporting molecular payloads to cells, sensing cell surface inputs for conditional, triggered activation, and reconfiguring its structure for payload delivery. The device can be loaded with a variety of materials in a highly organized fashion and is controlled by an aptamer-encoded logic gate, enabling it to respond to a wide array of cues. We implemented several different logical AND gates and demonstrate their efficacy in selective regulation of nanorobot function. As a proof of principle, nanorobots loaded with combinations of antibody fragments were used in two different types of cell-signaling stimulation in tissue culture. Our prototype could inspire new designs with different selectivities and biologically active payloads for cell-targeting tasks.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                ijms
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                MDPI
                1422-0067
                16 November 2017
                November 2017
                : 18
                : 11
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institut Pasteur, Department of Structural Biology and Chemistry, Laboratory for Bioorganic Chemistry of Nucleic Acids, CNRS UMR3523, 28, rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris CEDEX 15, France; pascal.rothlisberger@ 123456pasteur.fr
                [2 ]Institute of Systems & Synthetic Biology, Xenome Team, 5 rue Henri Desbruères Genopole Campus 1, University of Evry, F-91030 Evry, France
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: cecile.gasse@ 123456univ-evry.fr (C.G.); marcel.hollenstein@ 123456pasteur.fr (M.H.); Tel.: +33-1-44-38-9466 (M.H.)
                Article
                ijms-18-02430
                10.3390/ijms18112430
                5713398
                29144411
                32660930-5efb-4826-bf08-5b2ba4e58d4f
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Review

                Molecular biology
                aptamers,systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (selex),modified triphosphates,medical imaging,drug delivery,gene regulation,dna origami,neurodegenerative diseases

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