Theranostics 2016; 6(9):1440-1452. doi:10.7150/thno.15666


Generating Cell Targeting Aptamers for Nanotheranostics Using Cell-SELEX

Yifan Lyu*, Guang Chen*, Dihua Shangguan*, Liqin Zhang, Shuo Wan, Yuan Wu, Hui Zhang, Lian Duan, Chao Liu, Mingxu You, Jie Wang, Weihong Tan4✉

1. Department of Cardiology, Guang'anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100053, China
2. Molecular Science and Biomedicine Laboratory, State Key Laboratory of Chemo/Bio-Sensing and Chemometrics, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, College of Biology, Collaborative Innovation Center for Chemistry and Molecular Medicine, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, People's Republic of China.
3. Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Living Biosystems, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, China and University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4. Department of Chemistry and Physiology and Functional Genomics, Center for Research at the Bio/Nano Interface, Health Cancer Center, UF Genetics Institute, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-7200, USA Fax: (+1)352-846-2410.
* These authors made equal contributions.


Detecting and understanding changes in cell conditions on the molecular level is of great importance for the accurate diagnosis and timely therapy of diseases. Cell-based SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by EXponential enrichment), a foundational technology used to generate highly-specific, cell-targeting aptamers, has been increasingly employed in studies of molecular medicine, including biomarker discovery and early diagnosis/targeting therapy of cancer. In this review, we begin with a mechanical description of the cell-SELEX process, covering aptamer selection, identification and identification, and aptamer characterization; following this introduction is a comprehensive discussion of the potential for aptamers as targeting moieties in the construction of various nanotheranostics. Challenges and prospects for cell-SELEX and aptamer-based nanotheranostic are also discussed.

Keywords: Aptamers, Cell-SELEX, nanotheranostic, aptamer drug conjugates, DNA network.

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How to cite this article:
Lyu Y, Chen G, Shangguan D, Zhang L, Wan S, Wu Y, Zhang H, Duan L, Liu C, You M, Wang J, Tan W. Generating Cell Targeting Aptamers for Nanotheranostics Using Cell-SELEX. Theranostics 2016; 6(9):1440-1452. doi:10.7150/thno.15666. Available from