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Biotechniques. 2008 Apr;44(5):649-54. doi: 10.2144/000112803.

Affinity as a tool in life science.

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School of Biotechnology, AlbaNova University Center, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.


The use of affinity-based tools has become invaluable as a platform for basic research and in the development of drugs and diagnostics. Applications include affinity chromatography and affinity tag fusions for efficient purification of proteins as well as methods to probe the protein network interactions on a whole-proteome level. A variety of selection systems has been described for in vitro evolution of affinity reagents using combinatorial libraries, which make it possible to create high-affinity reagents to virtually all biomolecules, as exemplified by generation of therapeutic antibodies and new protein scaffold binders. The strategies for high-throughput generation of affinity reagents have also opened up the possibility of generating specific protein probes on a whole-proteome level. Recently, such affinity proteomics have allowed the detailed analysis of human protein expression in a comprehensive manner both in normal and disease tissue using tissue microarrays and confocal microscopy.

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