A guide to using nucleic acid aptamers in cell based assays



ISSN: 2514-3247
(2019), Vol 3, 04-09

Published online: 23 November 2019

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Justin Henri 1, Narges Bayat 3, 4, Joanna Macdonald 1, 2, and Sarah Shigdar 1,2,*

1 School of Medicine Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria 3128, Australia

2 Centre for Molecular and Medical Research, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, 3216, Australia

3 Leukaemia Biology Program, Children’s Cancer Institute, Lowy Cancer Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, Australia

4 School of Women’s and Children’s Health, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney, NSW, Australia

*Correspondence to: Sarah Shigdar, Email: Sarah.shigdar@deakin.edu.au, Tel: +613 5227 2846

Received: 23 September 2019 | Revised: 19 November 2019 | Accepted: 22 November 2019

© Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article, published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0). This license permits non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction of this article, provided the original work is appropriately acknowledged, with correct citation details.


Aptamers are single stranded nucleic acid molecules that fold into complex three-dimensional conformations. They have been used for a number of years as replacements for monoclonal antibodies by a core group of researchers. However, now that more and more companies are offering aptamers commercially for research and development applications, there is a need for a ‘how to’ guide for researchers who are interested in using aptamers for their own applications. Within this article, we detail the critical concerns for working with aptamers, from what to dilute them in, concentrations and times to use for incubation steps, as well as a suggested protocol. We hope that this guide will prove useful for researchers who are trialling aptamers for cell based assays, and as a starting point for researchers investigating aptamers for other applications.

Keywords: aptamers, how to, method, protocol, technique


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