26th March 2019

Tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) remains one of the main causes of human death around the globe.  Mortality is high suggesting early detection and treatment would better control outbreaks and fatal outcomes.  Point of care (POC) testing for mycobacterium is challenging due to slow growth, minimal clinical symptoms of infection, and low burden for sputum analysis in the early stages.  The most promising approach for developing a point of care test could be based on the detection of antigens specific to TB. This diagnostic would be based on the detection of abundantly secreted proteins, predominant amongst these is one of the major culture filtrate proteins MPT64, early secreted antigenic targets (ESAT-6) and culture filtrate protein (CFP-10). Antibodies have been raised to these targets but aptamers present a better alternative because of stability and cost for POC testing especially in developing countries where infection remains a major problem.

The main goal of the research was to select and characterise ssDNA aptamers by SPR (surface plasmon resonance) and ELONA (Enzyme Linked Oligonucleotide Assay) that specifically bind to MPT64 protein with non-target CFP-10 and ESAT-6 proteins used as controls.

Additional experiments also showed that selected aptamers could detect MPT64 antigens and TB infection in sputum samples in a case controlled study using ELONA, and could be used as an alternative for detection and diagnosis of TB for in field or on-site application.

Aptamer Group has also successfully selected aptamers in a variety of biofluids such as saliva and plasma, if you would like more information on aptamers for your research contact us using the form below.


Sypabekova M, Bekmurzayeva A, Wang R, Li Y, Nogues C, Kanayeva D. (2017).  Selection, characterisation, and application of DNA aptamers for detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis secreted protein MPT64. Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2017 May;104:70-78