Functional Nucleic Acids – Aptamers

The primary aim of the Working Group for Functional Nucleic Acids – Aptamers is to develop new and innovative products that are based on aptamers. This involves both the generation, synthesis and functionalization of aptamers, as well as their integration in various applications. At the same time, the goal is to work closely with industry and research institutes.

Aptamers are mainly short single-strand DNA and RNA molecules that exhibit the special property – much like antibodies – of highly affine and highly specific binding to target molecules. The extremely wide range of uses for aptamers in analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic applications makes them highly universal binding molecules.

Special focus is given to the production of new aptamers using an automated in-vitro selection process and an efficient monitoring and management process, as well as the development of aptamer-based detection methods, such as strip tests or so-called aptasensors.

APTACHIP – Aptamer Array Chip for Monoclonal Antibodies Real-Time Quantification in Bioreactor (EuroTransBio)


The objective of the APTACHIP project is to develop an aptamer-based biosensor that will enable the real-time detection of biochemical species in the growth medium. To demonstrate proper function (proof of concept), the aptasensor will mainly be geared toward detecting monoclonal antibodies. This type of biosensor may be used in the future for the quantitative detection of different chemical species and, most importantly, for optimizing the supply of nutrients in a bioreactor. Following the project, further R&D services will be carried out to adapt the aptasensor concept for sectors other than the bioreactor market, specifically the areas of water testing, food safety and industrial process control.


  • Methods for generating highly affine and highly specific RNA and DNA aptamers
  • Semi-automatic in-vitro selection process for the enrichment of target-affine nucleic acid pools, including an effective monitoring and management process
  • Sequence analysis of nucleic acid pools
  • Characterization and optimization of aptamer sequences
  • Diversity analysis of nucleic acid pools (DANA)
  • Fluorescence-based aptamer binding assay (FLAA)
  • Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) binding studies
  • Microscale thermophoresis (MST) binding studies
  • Flow cytometry (FACS) binding studies
  • Synthesis of RNA and DNA aptamers, including chemical modifications



  • Security level 1 and 2 molecular-biological laboratories
  • KingFisher Duo Magnetic particle processor for SELEX process with plate function
  • KingFisher BioSprint 15 for SELEX process
  • PCR Workstation with HEPA filter
  • Spectrophotometer UV/VIS
  • Microtiter plates fluorimeter
  • Microtiter plate spectrophotometer
  • Biacore (X, TM T200)
  • Nanotemper (Monolith NT.115)


  • Fraunhofer Institute IKTS-MD, Dresden
  • GeSIM mbH, Grosserkmannsdorf
  • Ipratech, Belgium
  • Multitel, Belgium

  • Dreymann, N., Sabrowski W., Danso J., Menge, M. (2022), Aptamer-Based Sandwich Assay Formats for Detection and Discrimination of Human High- and Low-Molecular-Weight uPA for Cancer Prognosis and Diagnosis, Cancers 2022, 14(21), 5222,
  • Menger M, Yarman A, Erdőssy J, Yildiz HB, Gyurcsányi RE, Scheller FW. MIPs and Aptamers for Recognition of Proteins in Biomimetic Sensing. Biosensors (Basel). 2016 Jul 18;6(3). pii: E35. DOI
  • Hacht AV, Seifert O, Menger M, Schütze T, Arora A, Konthur Z, Neubauer P, Wagner A, Weise C, Kurreck J. Identification and characterization of RNA guanine-quadruplex binding proteins. Nucleic Acids Res. (2014), 42 (10): 6630-6644; DOI PMID: 24771345.
  • Schütze T, Wilhelm B, Greiner N, Braun H, Peter F, Mörl M, Erdmann VA, Lehrach H, Konthur Z, Menger M, Arndt PF, Glökler J. Probing the SELEX Process with Next-Generation Sequencing. PLoS ONE. (2011), 6(12): e29604; DOI PMID: 22242135.
  • Schütze T, Arndt PF, Menger M, Wochner A, Vingron M, Erdmann VA, Lehrach H, Kaps C, Glökler J. A calibrated diversity assay for nucleic acid libraries using DiStRO—a Diversity Standard of Random Oligonucleotides. Nucleic Acids Res. (2010), 38(4): e23; DOI PMID: 19965765.
  • Menger M. Aptamere – Generierung und Applikation. GenomXPress. (2009), 1.09: 17-19.
  • Wochner A, Menger M, Orgel D, Cech B, Rimmele M, Erdmann VA, Glökler J. A DNA aptamer with high affinity and specificity for therapeutic anthracyclines. Anal Biochem. (2008), 373(1): 34-42. PMID: 17931589.
  • Wochner A, Cech B, Menger M, Erdmann VA, Glökler J. Semi-automated selection of DNA aptamers using magnetic particle handling. Biotechniques. (2007), 43(3): 344, 346, 348 passim. PMID: 17907577.
  • Wochner A, Menger M, Rimmele M. Characterisation of aptamers for therapeutic studies. Expert Opin Drug Discov. (2007), 2(9): 1205-1224. PMID: 23496129.
  • Menger M, Glokler J, Rimmele M. Application of aptamers in therapeutics and for small-molecule detection. Handb Exp Pharmacol. (2006), (173): 359-373. PMID: 16594625.