Nucleic Acids Research 31(18) (Sep 15 2003)
ARTN e110 DOI 10.1093/nar/gng110
One of the key components of proteomics initiatives is the production of high affinity ligands or probes that specifically recognize protein targets in assays that detect and capture proteins of interest. Particularly versatile probes with tremendous potential for use as affinity molecules are aptamers. Aptamers are short single-stranded DNA or RNA sequences that are selected in vitro based on affinity for a target molecule. Aptamers offer advantages over traditional antibody-based affinity molecules in their ease of production, regeneration and stability, largely due to the chemical properties of nucleic acids versus amino acids. We describe an improved in vitro selection protocol that relies on magnetic separations for DNA aptamer production that is relatively easy and scalable without the need for expensive robotics. We demonstrate the ability of aptamers that recognize thyroid transcription factor 1 (TTF1) to bind their target protein with high affinity and specificity, and detail their uses in a number of assays. The TTF1 aptamers were characterized using surface plasmon resonance, and shown to be useful for enzyme-linked assays, western blots and affinity purification.