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Special Issue "Aptamers and Applications"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Biosensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Beate Strehlitz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department Environmental and Biotechnology Centre, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
Interests: aptamer selection and characterization; SELEX; aptamer based sensors and assays; biosensor development and application; bioelectrotechnology; bioelectrochemistry
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Regina Stoltenburg
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Soil Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, 06120 Halle, Germany
Interests: aptamer selection and characterization; SELEX; aptamer applications; aptamer-based assays; aptasensors; ELONA; SPR; G-quadruplexes; microbiology; NGS; microbial communities; microbial ecology; yeasts
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For more than 25 years ago, aptamers have been a very attractive class of targeting molecules and have received growing interest in diverse scientific fields. Aptamers are known as a special kind of functional nucleic acids. Different from the conventional view on nucleic acids as carriers of genetic information, aptamers are more like globular molecules and their functionality is based on their complex three-dimensional structure. The intramolecular folding in accordance with the primary sequence of the aptamers enables them to recognize and bind their targets with high affinity and specificity. Aptamers are generated by an evolutionary approach called SELEX that leads to the enrichment of specific target-binding aptamers from a highly diverse oligonucleotide library during iterative selection cycles. This technology has been extensively modified and optimized over the years and has thus become a powerful method for the selection of high-affinity aptamers for a variety of target molecules (from small molecular targets over proteins to complex target structures).

Aptamers are currently heading towards applications ranging from basic research, medicine and pharmacy to environmental, water, or food analytics. They have great potential as therapeutic or diagnostic agents, delivery agents, molecular imaging tools, and as capture or reporter molecules. Aptamers have been successfully verified as molecular recognition elements in a wide range of analytical systems including differently designed aptamer-based detection assays (e.g., colorimetric or fluorescence-based assays, SPR, ELONA, LFA and others) or aptasensors (with electrochemical, optical, acoustic or other detection principles). To date, the generation of high-quality aptamers remains a complex process and the comprehensive transition of aptamers from research to real applications is a major challenge. This Special Issue of Sensors will cover current research topics in the exciting field of aptamers and how they are trained for application.

We welcome submissions that expand the world of aptamers by describing new aptamer developments and methods thereof, and highlight beneficial features of aptamers by showing examples of new applications. Both research papers and review articles will be considered. We look forward to and welcome your participation in this Special Issue.

Dr. Beate Strehlitz
Dr. Regina Stoltenburg
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • aptamers
  • nucleic acid
  • SELEX
  • aptamer selection
  • applications
  • aptasensors
  • aptamer-based assays
  • affinity molecules
  • specificity and sensitivity
  • aptamer–target interaction

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
A Novel Graphene Oxide-Based Aptasensor for Amplified Fluorescent Detection of Aflatoxin M1 in Milk Powder
Sensors 2019, 19(18), 3840; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19183840 - 05 Sep 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1413
Abstract
In this paper, a rapid and sensitive fluorescent aptasensor for the detection of aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in milk powder was developed. Graphene oxide (GO) was employed to quench the fluorescence of a carboxyfluorescein-labelled aptamer and protect the aptamer from nuclease [...] Read more.
In this paper, a rapid and sensitive fluorescent aptasensor for the detection of aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in milk powder was developed. Graphene oxide (GO) was employed to quench the fluorescence of a carboxyfluorescein-labelled aptamer and protect the aptamer from nuclease cleavage. Upon the addition of AFM1, the formation of an AFM1/aptamer complex resulted in the aptamer detaching from the surface of GO, followed by the aptamer cleavage by DNase I and the release of the target AFM1 for a new cycle, which led to great signal amplification and high sensitivity. Under optimized conditions, the GO-based detection of the aptasensor exhibited a linear response to AFM1 levels in a dynamic range from 0.2 to 10 μg/kg, with a limit of detection (LOD) of 0.05 μg/kg. Moreover, the developed aptasensor showed a high specificity towards AFM1 without interference from other mycotoxins. In addition, the technique was successfully applied for the detection of AFM1 in infant milk powder samples. The aptasensor proposed here offers a promising technology for food safety monitoring and can be extended to various targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamers and Applications)
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Article
Aptamers in Education: Undergraduates Make Aptamers and Acquire 21st Century Skills Along the Way
Sensors 2019, 19(15), 3270; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19153270 - 25 Jul 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2091
Abstract
Aptamers have a well-earned place in therapeutic, diagnostic, and sensor applications, and we now show that they provide an excellent foundation for education, as well. Within the context of the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) at The University of Texas at Austin, students have [...] Read more.
Aptamers have a well-earned place in therapeutic, diagnostic, and sensor applications, and we now show that they provide an excellent foundation for education, as well. Within the context of the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) at The University of Texas at Austin, students have used aptamer selection and development technologies in a teaching laboratory to build technical and 21st century skills appropriate for research scientists. One of the unique aspects of this course-based undergraduate research experience is that students develop and execute their own projects, taking ownership of their experience in what would otherwise be a traditional teaching lab setting. Of the many successes, this work includes the isolation and characterization of novel calf intestinal alkaline phosphatase (anti-CIAP) RNA aptamers by an undergraduate researcher. Further, preliminary survey data suggest that students who participate in the aptamer research experience express significant gains in their self-efficacy to conduct research, and their perceived ability to communicate scientific results, as well as organize and interpret data. This work describes, for the first time, the use of aptamers in an educational setting, highlights the positive student outcomes of the aptamer research experience, and presents the research findings relative to the novel anti-CIAP aptamer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamers and Applications)
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Article
An Aptamer-Based Biosensor for Direct, Label-Free Detection of Melamine in Raw Milk
Sensors 2018, 18(10), 3227; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18103227 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3184
Abstract
Melamine, a nitrogen-rich compound, has been used as a food and milk additive to falsely increase the protein content. However, melamine is toxic, and high melamine levels in food or in milk can cause kidney and urinary problems, or even death. Hence, the [...] Read more.
Melamine, a nitrogen-rich compound, has been used as a food and milk additive to falsely increase the protein content. However, melamine is toxic, and high melamine levels in food or in milk can cause kidney and urinary problems, or even death. Hence, the detection of melamine in food and milk is desirable, for which numerous detection methods have been developed. Several methods have successfully detected melamine in raw milk; however, they require a sample preparation before the analyses. This study aimed to develop an aptamer-DNAzyme conjugated biosensor for label-free detection of melamine, in raw milk, without any sample preparation. An aptamer-DNAzyme conjugated biosensor was developed via screening using microarray analysis to identify the candidate aptamers followed by an optimization, to reduce the background noise and improve the aptamer properties, thereby, enhancing the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio of the screened biosensor. The developed biosensor was evaluated via colorimetric detection and tested with raw milk without any sample preparation, using N-methylmesoporphyrin IX for fluorescence detection. The biosensor displayed significantly higher signal intensity at 2 mM melamine (S/N ratio, 20.2), which was sufficient to detect melamine at high concentrations, in raw milk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamers and Applications)
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Article
A Label-Free Aptasensor for Ochratoxin a Detection Based on the Structure Switch of Aptamer
Sensors 2018, 18(6), 1769; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18061769 - 01 Jun 2018
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2166
Abstract
A label-free sensing platform is developed based on switching the structure of aptamer for highly sensitive and selective fluorescence detection of ochratoxin A (OTA). OTA induces the structure of aptamer, transforms into G-quadruplex and produces strong fluorescence in the presence of zinc(II)-protoporphyrin IX [...] Read more.
A label-free sensing platform is developed based on switching the structure of aptamer for highly sensitive and selective fluorescence detection of ochratoxin A (OTA). OTA induces the structure of aptamer, transforms into G-quadruplex and produces strong fluorescence in the presence of zinc(II)-protoporphyrin IX probe due to the specific bind to G-quadruplex. The simple method exhibits high sensitivity towards OTA with a detection limit of 0.03 nM and excellent selectivity over other mycotoxins. In addition, the successful detection of OTA in real samples represents a promising application in food safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamers and Applications)
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