Oligonucleotide aptamers that recognize small molecules

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 1999 Jun;9(3):324-9. doi: 10.1016/S0959-440X(99)80043-8.


Nucleic acid receptors ('aptamers'), which recognize a large variety of organic molecules of low molecular weight, have been isolated from combinatorial nucleic acid libraries by in vitro selection methods. Structural studies of nucleic acid-small molecule complexes provide insight into both the principles of molecular recognition by this class of biopolymers and the architecture of tertiary motifs in nucleic acid folding. Aptamers that recognize small molecules are increasingly applied as tools in molecular biology, from the detection of oxidative damage in DNA to conditional gene expression and from their use as modules for the engineering of allosteric ribozymes to biosensors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Binding Sites
  • Biopolymers / chemistry
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Molecular Weight
  • Oligonucleotides / chemistry*


  • Amino Acids
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Biopolymers
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Oligonucleotides