Binding Affinity Measurements Between DNA Aptamers and their Virus Targets Using ELONA and MST

Gregory T. Pawel, Yuan Ma, Yuting Wu, Yi Lu, Ana Sol Peinetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aptamers have been selected with strong affinity and high selectivity for a wide range of targets, as recently highlighted by the development of aptamer-based sensors that can differentiate infectious from non-infectious viruses, including human adenovirus and SARS-CoV-2. Accurate determination of the binding affinity between the DNA aptamers and their viral targets is the first step to understanding the molecular recognition of viral particles and the potential uses of aptamers in various diagnostics and therapeutic applications. Here, we describe protocols to obtain the binding curve of the DNA aptamers to SARS-CoV-2 using Enzyme-Linked Oligonucleotide Assay (ELONA) and MicroScale Thermophoresis (MST). These methods allow for the determination of the binding affinity of the aptamer to the infectious SARS-CoV-2 and the selectivity of this aptamer against the same SARS-CoV-2 that has been rendered non-infectious by UV inactivation, and other viruses. Compared to other techniques like Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA), Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), and Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC), these methods have advantages for working with larger particles like viruses and with samples that require biosafety level 2 facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4548
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 5 2022


  • Aptamer
  • Binding affinity
  • Microscale Thermophoresis
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Virus detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Plant Science


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