A Novel ssDNA Aptamer Targeting Carcinoembryonic Antigen: Selection and Characterization

Nigara Yunussova, Marzhan Sypabekova, Zhazira Zhumabekova, Bakhyt Matkarimov, Damira Kanayeva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


One of the major causes of a drastically shorter life expectancy and one of the most prevalent diseases in the world today is cancer. Given the data on the rise in cancer cases throughout the world, it is obvious that, despite the diagnostic techniques currently being used, there is a pressing need to develop precise and sensitive techniques for early diagnosis of the disease. A high degree of affinity and specificity towards particular targets is maintained by the short nucleic acid molecules known as aptamers. Aptamers outperform antibodies due to their unique benefits, such as their simplicity in synthesis and modification, lack of toxicity, and long-term stability. Utilizing an accurate recognition element and a robust signal transduction mechanism, molecular diagnostics can be extremely sensitive and specific. In this study, development of new single-stranded DNA aptamers against CEA for use in cancer diagnostics was accomplished using SELEX and NGS methods. As a result of 12 iterative SELEX rounds, nine aptamer candidates against CEA were developed. NGS comparative analysis revealed that round twelve had an enriched number of aptamers that were specifically bound, as opposed to round eight. Among the selected nine sequences characterized by bioinformatics analysis and ELONA, an aptamer sequence with the highest specificity and affinity for the target protein was identified and further examined. Aptamer sequence (6) was screened in a concentration-dependent assay, specificity analysis was performed, and its potential secondary and tertiary structures were predicted, which enabled us to test one of the possible putative interactions with CEA. Finally, aptamer sequence (6) labelled with a Cy5 fluorescent tag was used in confocal microscopy to observe its binding towards the CEA expressed in HT-29 human colon adenocarcinoma cell line.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1540
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • aptamer
  • bioinformatics analysis
  • carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
  • HT-29 human colon adenocarcinoma
  • selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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