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Nature. 1990 Dec 6;348(6301):552-4.

Phage antibodies: filamentous phage displaying antibody variable domains.

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  • 1MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.


New ways of making antibodies have recently been demonstrated using gene technology. Immunoglobulin variable (V) genes are amplified from hybridomas or B cells using the polymerase chain reaction, and cloned into expression vectors. Soluble antibody fragments secreted from bacteria are then screened for binding activities. Screening of V genes would, however, be revolutionized if they could be expressed on the surface of bacteriophage. Phage carrying V genes that encode binding activities could then be selected directly with antigen. Here we show that complete antibody V domains can be displayed on the surface of fd bacteriophage, that the phage bind specifically to antigen and that rare phage (one in a million) can be isolated after affinity chromatography.

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