Glypican-3 (GPC3), a membrane-bound heparan sulfate proteoglycan, is a biomarker of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression. Aptamers specifically binding to target biomolecules have recently emerged as clinical disease diagnosis targets. Here, we describe 3D structure-based aptaprobe platforms for detecting GPC3, such as aptablotting, aptaprobe-based sandwich assay (ALISA), and aptaprobe-based imaging analysis.
For preparing the aptaprobe–GPC3 platforms, we obtained 12 high affinity aptamer candidates (GPC3_1 to GPC3_12) that specifically bind to target GPC3 molecules. Structure-based molecular interactions identified distinct aptatopic residues responsible for binding to the paratopic nucleotide sequences (nt-paratope) of GPC3 aptaprobes. Sandwichable and overlapped aptaprobes were selected through structural analysis. The aptaprobe specificity for using in HCC diagnostics were verified through Aptablotting and ALISA. Moreover, aptaprobe-based imaging showed that the binding property of GPC3_3 and their GPC3 specificity were maintained in HCC xenograft models, which may indicate a new HCC imaging diagnosis.
Aptaprobe has the potential to be used as an affinity reagent to detect the target in vivo and in vitro diagnosing system.