Engineered Aptamers to Probe Molecular Interactions on the Cell Surface
Department of Chemistry, Lehman College, The City University of New York, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, Bronx, New York, NY 10468, USA
Ph.D. Programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA
Ph.D. Program in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Biomedicines 2017, 5(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5030054
Received: 5 June 2017 / Revised: 1 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Aptamers for Biomedical Applications)
Significant progress has been made in understanding the nature of molecular interactions on the cell membrane. To decipher such interactions, molecular scaffolds can be engineered as a tool to modulate these events as they occur on the cell membrane. To guarantee reliability, scaffolds that function as modulators of cell membrane events must be coupled to a targeting moiety with superior chemical versatility. In this regard, nucleic acid aptamers are a suitable class of targeting moieties. Aptamers are inherently chemical in nature, allowing extensive site-specific chemical modification to engineer sensing molecules. Aptamers can be easily selected using a simple laboratory-based in vitro evolution method enabling the design and development of aptamer-based functional molecular scaffolds against wide range of cell surface molecules. This article reviews the application of aptamers as monitors and modulators of molecular interactions on the mammalian cell surface with the aim of increasing our understanding of cell-surface receptor response to external stimuli. The information gained from these types of studies could eventually prove useful in engineering improved medical diagnostics and therapeutics.