The Aptamer group of companies focuses on the development of aptamer technologies. We develop nucleic acid aptamers for use in research & development, biomarker discovery, diagnostics or therapeutic developments. Aptamers are short ssDNA or ssRNA sequences that offer high-affinity and specificity to virtually all types of targets. Aptamers are versatile, cost effective and offer a complementary or alternative solution to antibodies.
Aptamers can also be raised against toxic or poorly immunogenic targets where antibodies cannot making them suitable replacements in many applications. This is a very exciting concept for the future of therapeutic and diagnostic markets as we now have a means of assessing drug targets, key proteins and nucleic acids known to play a role in disease that were previously thought to be out of reach.
We have over 20 years combined expertise in the development of nucleic acid aptamers to peptides, proteins, cells, tissue samples, micro-organisms and small molecules for use in a variety of assays.
• Protein Purification
• Lateral Flow Assay
• Fluorescence Microscopy
• Flow Cytometry
Servicing all your aptamer needs
The Aptamer group brings together various aptamer technology driven companies to provide a range of services to the life sciences industry. Over the coming decades aptamer technology will have a profound effect on the life science market helping provide more cost-effective solutions to end users. We aim to address market needs through our group which has companies specialising in: the provision of high quality R&D consumables and high throughput aptamer screening services through Aptasol, diagnostics devices / reagents Aptadx and therapeutic lead compounds Aptarx.
Using our automated method of aptamer development, we can produce up to 50 bespoke aptamers, in 3 months, from feasibility to minimal fragment identification (Optimers TM).
Aptamers can be directly conjugated to reporter molecules at any point of the sequence, allowing easy incorporation into your assay of choice
One of the most useful (and readily available) modifications is the incorporation of a wide variety of fluorophores. These can be added to either the 5′ or 3′ ends of the aptamer, or at any given point along its length. This makes it a trivial matter to monitor aptamer-target interactions by monitoring changes in the aptamer fluorescence properties such as fluorescence polarisation or anisotropy.
Fluorescent aptamers also allow direct visualisation of the target, so they may be used as a more specific alternative to antibodies in techniques such as Western blotting. Aptamers would have many advantages in this sort of application, the most obvious of which is speed. As aptamers are highly specific for their target, they may be used directly after transfer to a membrane. They would negate the need for ‘membrane blocking’, secondary antibodies or additional chemiluminescent reagents. As many different fluorophores are available, multiple targets could be identified in a single sample.
Aptamers may also be directly visualised in tissue samples or be used to follow binding and cellular localisation by confocal microscopy. The wide range of available fluorophores also means that multiple aptamers can be used in a single sample allowing co-localisation studies. Labelled aptamers may also be used for FACS analysis allowing identification of specific cell types or cellular markers within mixed cell populations.
An extension of this is the conjugation of ‘FRET pairs’ or ‘fluorophore-quencher’ pairs to the selected aptamer. Target binding results in a significant conformational change in the aptamer, which in turn changes the distance between the FRET pairs (or fluorophore and quencher) resulting in a significant change in fluorescent output. This produces so called ‘aptamer beacons’.
Our aptamer combinatorial libraries have approximately one quadrillion (10e15) different molecules, giving you unprecedented sequence diversity.
Aptamers are isolated from degenerate combinatorial libraries consisting of between 10e15 – 10e18 sequences. This huge diversity is derived from a stretch of random nucleotides, typically 20 – 80 nucleotides in length, giving 4e20 to 4e80 possible sequence combinations.
An average combinatorial chemical library consists of approximately 100,000 classes of molecules, with the better libraries consisting of approximately 1 million molecules. In contrast, recombinant phage display libraries (such as those used to make HuCAL libraries) have approximately 45 billion different structures. These libraries are ~ 45,000 times bigger than a large combinatorial chemical library.
An aptamer library is 22,000 times bigger than a recombinant phage display library and a billion times bigger than a large combinatorial chemical library.
The successful development of an ‘immunoassay’ is dependent upon the antibodies being highly specific and having a high affinity for their target. Cross-reactivity with other targets is often one of the biggest drawbacks of antibody diagnostic development. Aptamers can be tailored to have the required specificity, reducing downstream optimisation/screening. Aptamers can also be developed in a wider variety of matrices. Aptamers can be developed under a wider variety or conditions than is possible with antibodies. This simplifies assay development in complex matrices. Aptamer Diagnostics have the technical expertise to provide you with highly functional monoclonal and polyclonal aptamers in record time at reasonable costs.
Aptamers are compatible with various applications, such as biomarker discovery, target diagnosis, molecular imaging, and drug delivery due to their readily modified chemical structures and the wide range of targets to which they bind. Aptamers can bind to their targets specifically via unique three dimensional structures. Our proprietary aptamers selection process allows us to generate aptamers with high affinity and specificity for many kinds of targets, such as biomedically important proteins, viruses, bacteria, and even cancer cells or tissues.
Aptamers are not antibodies and behave differently in certain situations. Before attemting to directly replace an antibody with an aptamer it is worth speaking to one of our dedicated team about the possible implications.
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