Abstract – Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids or peptides identified from a randomized combinatorial library through specific interaction with the target of interest. Targets can be of any size, from small molecules to whole cells, attesting to the versatility of aptamers for binding a wide range of targets. Aptamers show drug properties that are analogous to antibodies, with high specificity and affinity to their target molecules. Aptamers can penetrate disease-causing microbial and mammalian cells. Generated aptamers that target surface biomarkers act as cell-targeting agents and intracellular delivery vehicles. Within this context, the “cell-internalizing aptamers” are widely investigated via the process of cell uptake with selective binding during in vivo systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) or by cell-internalization SELEX, which targets cell surface antigens to be receptors. These internalizing aptamers are highly preferable for the localization and functional analyses of multiple targets. In this overview, we discuss the ways by which internalizing aptamers are generated and their successful applications. Furthermore, theranostic approaches featuring cell-internalized aptamers are discussed with the purpose of analyzing and diagnosing disease-causing pathogens.
Keywords – Aptamer, Internalization, Receptor, SELEX, Surface antigen
Corresponding Author: Subash C B Gopinath
Corresponding Author’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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