Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 2430
Recent progresses in organic chemistry and molecular biology have allowed the emergence of numerous new applications of nucleic acids that markedly deviate from their natural functions. Particularly, DNA and RNA molecules—coined aptamers—can be brought to bind to specific targets with high affinity and selectivity. While aptamers are mainly applied as biosensors, diagnostic agents, tools in proteomics and biotechnology, and as targeted therapeutics, these chemical antibodies slowly begin to be used in other fields. Herein, we review recent progress on the use of aptamers in the construction of smart DNA origami objects and MRI and PET imaging agents. We also describe advances in the use of aptamers in the field of neurosciences (with a particular emphasis on the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases) and as drug delivery systems. Lastly, the use of chemical modifications, modified nucleoside triphosphate particularly, to enhance the binding and stability of aptamers is highlighted.