J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2015, Vol. 57 ›› Issue (11): 892-901.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12368

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Peptide aptamers: The versatile role of specific protein function inhibitors in plant biotechnology

Monica Colombo1†, Chiara Mizzotti2†, Simona Masiero2, Martin M. Kater2 and Paolo Pesaresi2*   

  1. 1Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all'Adige (Trento), Italy
    2Department of Biosciences, University of Milan, Milano, Italy
  • Received:2015-02-11 Accepted:2015-05-05 Published:2015-11-01
  • About author:These authors contributed equally to the work.
    *Correspondence: E-mail: paolo.pesaresi@unimi.it


In recent years, peptide aptamers have emerged as novel molecular tools that have attracted the attention of researchers in various fields of basic and applied science, ranging from medicine to analytical chemistry. These artificial short peptides are able to specifically bind, track, and inhibit a given target molecule with high affinity, even molecules with poor immunogenicity or high toxicity, and represent a remarkable alternative to antibodies in many different applications. Their use is on the rise, driven mainly by the medical and pharmaceutical sector. Here we discuss the enormous potential of peptide aptamers in both basic and applied aspects of plant biotechnology and food safety. The different peptide aptamer selection methods available both in vivo and in vitro are introduced, and the most important possible applications in plant biotechnology are illustrated. In particular, we discuss the generation of broad-based virus resistance in crops, “reverse genetics” and aptasensors in bioassays for detecting contaminations in food and feed. Furthermore, we suggest an alternative to the transfer of peptide aptamers into plant cells via genetic transformation, based on the use of cell-penetrating peptides that overcome the limits imposed by both crop transformation and Genetically Modified Organism commercialization. 


Colombo M, Mizzotti C, Masiero S, Kater MM, Pesaresi P (2015) Peptide aptamers: The versatile role of specific protein function inhibitors in plant biotechnology. J Integr Plant Biol 57: 892–901 doi: 10.1111/jipb.12368

Key words: Biosensors, functional genomics, peptide aptamers, resistance

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