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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 731516, 7 pages
Review Article

Aptamers: Novel Molecules as Diagnostic Markers in Bacterial and Viral Infections?

1Unit for Drug Discovery, Department of Parasitology, Institute of Biomedical Science, University of São Paulo, Avenida Professor Lineu Prestes 1374, 05508-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Heart Centre Leipzig, Translational Centre for Regenerative Medicine (TRM), University of Leipzig, Strümpellstraße 39, 04289 Leipzig, Germany
3Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry, University of São Paulo, Avenida Professor Lineu Prestes 748, 05508-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 6 June 2013; Accepted 30 July 2013

Academic Editor: Sudhish Mishra

Copyright © 2013 Flávia M. Zimbres et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Worldwide the entire human population is at risk of infectious diseases of which a high degree is caused by pathogenic protozoans, worms, bacteria, and virus infections. Moreover the current medications against pathogenic agents are losing their efficacy due to increasing and even further spreading drug resistance. Therefore, there is an urgent need to discover novel diagnostic as well as therapeutic tools against infectious agents. In view of that, the Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment (SELEX) represents a powerful technology to target selectively pathogenic factors as well as entire bacteria or viruses. SELEX uses a large combinatorial oligonucleic acid library (DNA or RNA) which is processed a by high-flux in vitro screen of iterative cycles. The selected ligands, termed aptamers, are characterized by high specificity and affinity to their target molecule, which are already exploited in diagnostic and therapeutic applications. In this minireview we will discuss the current status of the SELEX technique applied on bacterial and viral pathogens.