Generation of Protein- and Aptamer-Based Ligands for Chemical and Biological Agent Identification
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AbstractDetection of chemical and biological warfare agents in a real-world setting is an increasingly urgent problem. Many of the current state-of-the-art sensors are aqueous based and require large biomolecules, such as antibodies, to achieve binding of the target molecule and subsequent reporting of the binding event. Antibodies and other large biomolecules are labile under ambient conditions over time due to aggregation, which renders them inactive. This instability is a drawback when considering deployment of these technologies to a battlefield situation. Here, we propose a sensor that is based on short peptide and nucleic acid sequences that act as ligands for the target(s) of interest. Due to their small size, these ligands are not susceptible to conformational instability and the sensors should have a long lifetime even when deployed. Additionally, we propose a "dry" signal transduction mechanism that only requires the binding of the target of interest in order to relay that event. No washing or blocking steps are required. After deployment, the sensor on which the binding takes place can be interrogated, either locally or remotely, by a reader to determine if the target of interest has bound.
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