Cell-SELEX is performed to select for cell binding aptamers. We employed an additional selection pressure by using RNAse to remove surface-binding aptamers and select for cell-internalizing aptamers. A common RNA sequence was identified from independent cell-SELEX procedures against two different pancreatic cancer cell lines, indicating a strong selection pressure towards this sequence from the large pool of other available sequences present in the aptamer library. The aptamer is not specific for the pancreatic cancer cell lines, and a similar sequence motif is present in previously published internalizing aptamers. The identified sequence forms a structural motif that binds to a surface protein, which either is highly abundant or has strong affinity for the selected aptamer sequence. Deselecting (removing) this sequence during cell-SELEX may increase the probability of identifying aptamers against cell type-specific targets on the cell surface.
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