Sensitive detection of molecular markers for disease and experimental tools
It is possible to create single-stranded RNA or DNA ligands that bind to nearly any complex molecule or surface though a process known as either "Selective Evolution of Ligands through EXponential enrichment" (SELEX) or "in vitro evolution". These ligands, termed "aptamers", can be terminally labeled with radioactivity, affinity tags, fluorescent dyes, or PCR priming sites and the biochemical selection mechanism can be driven to produce affinities at least as high as good antibodies. Aptamers are relatively easy and inexpensive to synthesize, stable to long term storage and can be detected with exquisite sensitivity by quantitative PCR. The aim of this project is to use monoclonal aptamers to a macromolecular antigen to create a highly sensitive platform using PCR-based detection. It is anticipated that successful refinement of the method will have broad application for experimental and practical diagnostics.