By combining pseudorandom bead-based aptamer libraries with conjugation chemistry, we have created next-generation aptamers, X-aptamers (XAs). Several X-ligands can be added in a directed or random fashion to the aptamers to further enhance their binding affinities for the target proteins. Here we describe the addition of a drug (N-acetyl-2,3-dehydro-2-deoxyneuraminic acid), demonstrated to bind to CD44-HABD, to a complete monothioate backbone-substituted aptamer to increase its binding affinity for the target protein by up to 23-fold, while increasing the drug’s level of binding 1-million fold.

Biochemistry 2012, 51, 8321-3.