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J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 2002 Feb-Nov;22(1-4):373-92.

The use of phage display in the study of receptors and their ligands.

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Département de Biochimie Medicale, Centre Médicale Universitaire, 1 rue Michel Servet, CH-1211 Genève 4, Switzerland.


Phage display technology presents a rapid means by which proteins and peptides that bind specifically to predefined molecular targets can be isolated from extremely complex combinatorial libraries. There are several important ways by which phage display can provide impetus to receptor-based research. Firstly, phage display can be applied, alongside transcriptome and proteome expression profiling techniques, to the identification and characterisation of receptors whose expression is specific to either a cell lineage, a tissue or a disease state. Secondly, specific monoclonal antibodies that enable researchers to identify, localize and quantify receptors can be produced very rapidly (weeks). Thirdly, it should be possible to apply phage display to the matching of orphan ligands and receptors. Finally, phage display can be used to identify proteins and peptides that modulate receptor activity. As well as being useful in the study of receptor function, biologically active proteins and peptides could also be used therapeutically, or as leads for drug design. Hence phage display is ready to play a central role in the study of receptors in the post-genome era. This review outlines the ways in which phage display has been applied to the study of receptor-ligand systems, and discusses how new developments in the technology may be of even greater utility to the field in the next decade.

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