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J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2005 Dec 27;829(1-2):1-25. Epub 2005 Oct 25.

Receptor-ligand binding assays: technologies and applications.

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Department of Analytical Biochemistry, University Centre for Pharmacy, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands.


Receptor-ligand interactions play a crucial role in biological systems and their measurement forms an important part of modern pharmaceutical development. Numerous assay formats are available that can be used to screen and quantify receptor ligands. In this review, we give an overview over both radioactive and non-radioactive assay technologies with emphasis on the latter. While radioreceptor assays are fast, easy to use and reproducible, their major disadvantage is that they are hazardous to human health, produce radioactive waste, require special laboratory conditions and are thus rather expensive on a large scale. This has led to the development of non-radioactive assays based on optical methods like fluorescence polarization, fluorescence resonance energy transfer or surface plasmon resonance. In light of their application in high-throughput screening environments, there has been an emphasis on so called "mix-and-measure" assays that do not require separation of bound from free ligand. The advent of recombinant production of receptors has contributed to the increased availability of specific assays and some aspects of the expression of recombinant receptors will be reviewed. Applications of receptor-ligand binding assays described in this review will relate to screening and the quantification of pharmaceuticals in biological matrices.

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