Tips For Choosing An Antibody

Antibodies have transformed life sciences and many other scientific disciplines by allowing detection, quantification, and capture of molecular targets that otherwise would remain unfathomable.

Since Rosalyn Yalow and Solomon Berson developed the first immunoassay to measure insulin in blood plasma in the 1960s, a number of antibody-based applications have emerged and research has progressed. 

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Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

Define a destination that interests you

The purpose of protein can be very complex. Different names, abbreviations, isoforms, splice variants, and in vivo modifications may exist for specific proteins, and sequence identity or homology for closely related proteins poses additional challenges in the form of potential cross-reactivity.

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In addition, cell-binding partners can mask antibody-binding sites. To add to the confusion, the commonly used names are sometimes different for specific purposes in different fields of research. Make sure you understand the biology of your target and the ability of each antibody concerned to recognize your target under the selected conditions.

Make sure the antibody matches your sample type

Targets differ in sequence and structure from species to species. Unless the datasheet states that the antibody is validated for a species, there is no guarantee that the antibody will work. Therefore, we recommend that you use antibodies that are specifically validated for the species you are interested in. Specific antibodies are usually available for frequently used test species.

Choose the appropriate antibody for your application

It would be difficult to assume that an antibody that has been shown to recognize a target in one application would do the same in another.

For example, an antigen may require a target protein in its natural folded form, or it may be available only in a denatured protein. Therefore, antibodies that act in western blot may not act on immunofluorescence from frozen regions and vice versa.