Development of Cell-Specific Aptamers: Recent Advances and Insight into the Selection Procedures

Molecules. 2017 Nov 27;22(12):2070. doi: 10.3390/molecules22122070.


Systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) is an established procedure for developing short single-stranded nucleic acid ligands called aptamers against a target of choice. This approach has also been used for developing aptamers specific to whole cells named Cell-SELEX. Aptamers selected by Cell-SELEX have the potential to act as cell specific therapeutics, cell specific markers or cell specific drug delivery and imaging agents. However, aptamer development is a laborious and time-consuming process which is often challenging due to the requirement of frequent optimization of various steps involved in Cell-SELEX procedures. This review provides an insight into various procedures for selection, aptamer enrichment, regeneration and aptamer-binding analysis, in addition to a very recent update on all aptamers selected by Cell-SELEX procedures.

Keywords: Cell-SELEX; aptamer enrichment; aptamers; binding assays; ssDNA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / chemistry*
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding
  • SELEX Aptamer Technique / methods*


  • Aptamers, Nucleotide