DNA-Nanoscaffold-Assisted Selection of Femtomolar Bivalent Human α-Thrombin Aptamers with Potent Anticoagulant Activity

Yu Zhou, Xiaodong Qi, Yan Liu, Fei Zhang, Hao Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Multivalent aptamers that interact with their target proteins through multiple sites exhibit much stronger binding strengths than their monovalent counterparts. In this work, we have designed a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) library (1015 molecules, each 145 nt) based on a predefined DNA nanostructure designed to present two random-loop sites for bivalent aptamer evolution. From this library, a group of ultra-strong bivalent aptamers against human α-thrombin (with apparent KD values of ≈340 fm) were easily identified through a simple seven-round conventional systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) procedure. The dominant bivalent aptamers consist of two components, one binding to exosite I and the other to exosite II. The best of these bivalent aptamers show strong allosteric attenuation of the thrombin cleavage activity and also display an extremely potent anticoagulation effect in human plasma, demonstrating their great potential in therapeutic applications. The method developed here can easily be adapted to conventional SELEX techniques, opening a new route for fast selection of multivalent aptamers with superior binding affinity for other targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2494-2503
Number of pages10
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • DNA structures
  • affinity
  • anticoagulation
  • aptamers
  • thrombin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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