American Chemical Society
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Selection and Characterization of PCB-Binding DNA Aptamers

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-02-07, 00:00 authored by Jaytry Mehta, Elsa Rouah-Martin, Bieke Van Dorst, Bert Maes, Wouter Herrebout, Marie-Louise Scippo, Freddy Dardenne, Ronny Blust, Johan Robbens
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that resist natural degradation and bioaccumulate in nature. Combined with their toxicity, this leads them to cause cancer and other health hazards. Thus, there is a vital need for rapid and sensitive methods to detect PCB residues in food and in the environment. In this study, PCB-binding DNA aptamers were developed using PCB72 and PCB106 as targets for aptamer selection. Aptamers are synthetic DNA recognition elements which form unique conformations that enable them to bind specifically to their targets. Using in vitro selection techniques and fluorometry, an aptamer that binds with nanomolar affinity to both the PCBs has been developed. It displayed high selectivity to the original target congeners and limited affinity toward other PCB congeners (105, 118, 153, and 169), suggesting general specificity for the basic PCB skeleton with varying affinities for different congeners. This aptamer provides a basis for constructing an affordable, sensitive, and high-throughput assay for the detection of PCBs in food and environmental samples and offers a promising alternative to existing methods of PCB quantitation. This study therefore advances aptamer technology by targeting one of the highly sought-after POPs, for the first time ever recorded.