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From Latin aptus (apt, proper) +‎ -mer (from Ancient Greek μέρος (méros, part, portion); compare mero-).


aptamer (plural aptamers)

  1. (biochemistry, genetics) Any subsequence of nucleic acid or protein, selected from a large random sequence-pool, used to bind to a specific target molecule.
    • 2005, (US) National Research Council, Sensor Systems for Biological Agent Attacks[1], page 117:
      Aptamers are oligomers of RNA or DNA that spontaneously fold into specific three-dimensional shapes that can bind defined targets. The specificity of the shape of the binding site arises from the base sequence of the aptamer, which determines the base-pairing pattern of the oligomer.
    • 2009, Corinne Ravelet, Eric Peyrin, Chapter 10: Aptamers in Affinity Separations: Stationary Separation, Yingfu Li, Yi Lu (editors), Functional Nucleic Acids for Analytical Applications, page 271,
      The use of DNA or RNA aptamers as tools in analytical chemistry is a very promising field of research because of their capabilities to bind specifically the target molecules with an affinity similar to that of antibodies.
    • 2010, Dabid Loakes, Nucleotides an Nucleic Acids; Oligo- and Polynucleotides, D. W. Allen, J. C. Tebby, John C. Tebby, David Loakes (editors), Organophosphorus Chemistry, page 144,
      The field of aptamer research is also more targeted, with many more catalytic aptamers being examined rather than for binding alone.
    • 2015, Caroli J et al, "APTANI: a computational tool to select aptamers through sequence-structure motif analysis of HT-SELEX data", Bioinformatics, 32 (2): 161-164, "3 Results".
      To test APTANI performances and validate its findings, we analyzed a sequence library corresponding to an HT-SELEX experiment designed to isolate aptamers specific for murine IL4Ra (Roth et al., 2012).