Novel aptamer-based detection and sequestration techniques of small molecule toxins Open Access

Price, Erin (Spring 2020)

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Small molecules are important compounds that exist in almost every facet of life and have many functional classes such as drugs, toxins, biomarkers, nutrients and metabolites. Depending on the structure and context, small molecules can have beneficial or harmful effects. However, detection of small molecules is difficult because of their size and limited functional groups. One promising technique to detect small molecules is the use nucleic acid aptamers. Aptamers are single stranded nucleic acid sequences with high affinity to a target molecule. The work in this thesis builds upon current aptamer technology to improve detection and sequestration of small molecule toxins. One area of research will focus on the detection of a small molecule toxin by developing an aptamer-based fluorescent biosensor. The next area of research will combine aptamers and virus-like particles for the sequestration of a small molecule toxin. 

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