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Journal of Nucleic Acids
Volume 2017, Article ID 4943072, 9 pages
Research Article

Cell-SELEX Identifies a “Sticky” RNA Aptamer Sequence

1Department of Surgery, UC San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA, USA
2Department of Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Partha Ray; ude.dscu@yarp and Rebekah R. White; ude.dscu@etihwer

Received 9 September 2016; Accepted 23 November 2016; Published 17 January 2017

Academic Editor: William H. Gmeiner

Copyright © 2017 Partha Ray and Rebekah R. White. 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.


Cell-SELEX is performed to select for cell binding aptamers. We employed an additional selection pressure by using RNAse to remove surface-binding aptamers and select for cell-internalizing aptamers. A common RNA sequence was identified from independent cell-SELEX procedures against two different pancreatic cancer cell lines, indicating a strong selection pressure towards this sequence from the large pool of other available sequences present in the aptamer library. The aptamer is not specific for the pancreatic cancer cell lines, and a similar sequence motif is present in previously published internalizing aptamers. The identified sequence forms a structural motif that binds to a surface protein, which either is highly abundant or has strong affinity for the selected aptamer sequence. Deselecting (removing) this sequence during cell-SELEX may increase the probability of identifying aptamers against cell type-specific targets on the cell surface.