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Journal of Nucleic Acids
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 156482, 13 pages
Review Article

Artificial Specific Binders Directly Recovered from Chemically Modified Nucleic Acid Libraries

Graduate School of Engineering, Gunma University, 1-5-1 Tenjin-cho, Kiryu 376-8515, Japan

Received 8 July 2012; Accepted 19 August 2012

Academic Editor: Hiroshi Murakami

Copyright © 2012 Yuuya Kasahara and Masayasu Kuwahara. 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.


Specific binders comprised of nucleic acids, that is, RNA/DNA aptamers, are attractive functional biopolymers owing to their potential broad application in medicine, food hygiene, environmental analysis, and biological research. Despite the large number of reports on selection of natural DNA/RNA aptamers, there are not many examples of direct screening of chemically modified nucleic acid aptamers. This is because of (i) the inferior efficiency and accuracy of polymerase reactions involving transcription/reverse-transcription of modified nucleotides compared with those of natural nucleotides, (ii) technical difficulties and additional time and effort required when using modified nucleic acid libraries, and (iii) ambiguous efficacies of chemical modifications in binding properties until recently; in contrast, the effects of chemical modifications on biostability are well studied using various nucleotide analogs. Although reports on the direct screening of a modified nucleic acid library remain in the minority, chemical modifications would be essential when further functional expansion of nucleic acid aptamers, in particular for medical and biological uses, is considered. This paper focuses on enzymatic production of chemically modified nucleic acids and their application to random screenings. In addition, recent advances and possible future research are also described.