Nucleic acid aptamers and enzymes as sensors

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2006 Jun;10(3):272-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2006.04.003. Epub 2006 May 4.


The function of nucleic acids has been an endless source of discovery and invention that has drastically enhanced our appreciation of DNA and RNA as multifaceted polymers. It is now widely known that nucleic acids can act as enzymes (deoxyribozymes and ribozymes) and as receptors (aptamers), and that these functional nucleic acids (FNAs) can either be found in nature or isolated from pools of random nucleic acids. The availability of many natural and artificial FNAs has opened a new horizon for the development of 'smart' molecules for a variety of chemical and biological applications. This review provides a snapshot of recent progress in the application of FNAs as novel sensors for biomolecular detection, drug discovery and nanotechnology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / chemistry*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / analysis
  • Electrochemistry
  • Enzymes / chemistry*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Nucleic Acids / chemistry*
  • Protein Denaturation
  • Proteins / analysis
  • RNA / analysis


  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Enzymes
  • Nucleic Acids
  • Proteins
  • RNA
  • DNA