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Artificial Antibodies

June 23, 2010

A new procedure makes it easier to make synthetic antibodies.


Making antibodies more quickly. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

There’s a big demand now for synthetic antibodies, which are used in medicine and basic research. Now, Stephen Johnston of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and his colleagues have found an easier way to make them. Rather than inject an animal with a target protein, and wait for antibodies to form, Johnston’s team used a library of 8,000 possible target proteins, all packed on a single slide.

STEPHEN JOHNSTON (Arizona State University):
We said what if we just sort of made a synthetic antibody, and then throw it on the slide and see what it binds to and let what it binds to be its target?

This turned out to be surprisingly efficient. One antibody they produced binds to AKT-1, a protein linked to obesity, cancer, and aging. Antibodies like these help researchers locate, isolate, and analyze a protein, so they can figure out what it actually does. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.