Many potent DNA aptamers are known to contain a G-quadruplex (G4)
core. Structures and applications of the majority of such aptamers have been
reviewed previously. The present review focuses on the design and optimization of
G4 aptamers. General features of bioactive G4s are analyzed, and the main strategies
for construction of aptamers with desired properties and topologies, including
modular assembly, control of an aptamer folding and some others, are outlined.
Chemical modification as a method for post-SELEX G4 aptamer optimization is also
discussed, and the effects of loop and core modifications are compared. Particular
attention is paid to the emerging trends, such as the development of genomic G4-
inspired aptamers and the combinatorial approaches which aim to find a balance
between rational design and selection.
Keywords: Aptamers, chemical modification, combinatorial approaches, drug design, G-quadruplexes, structure-activity
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