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Applications of Phage Display

Sharon Craggs

Nov 19, 2019


Phage display technology includes: epitope mapping, receptor and ligand identification, protein-protein interaction studies, recombinant antibody production, directed evolution of proteins, and drug discovery.

Author: Sharon Craggs An experienced researcher and technical advisor with laboratory experience in academic and small biotechnology laboratories.

Sharon Craggs

Phage display is a rapidly evolving technology that has been used to support a range of applications depending on the nature of the phage display library. These include epitope mapping, receptor and ligand identification, protein-protein interaction studies, recombinant antibody production, directed evolution of proteins, and drug discovery. The widespread utility of this technology is backed by a growing number of citations, highlighting its importance to accelerate research.

Epitope Mapping

When an antibody recognises a specific antigen, the binding region is referred to as the epitope. Knowledge of antigenic epitopes is valuable for the development of effective antibody reagents for research use and therapeutics. Moreover, epitope mapping has significant utility in vaccine development as it can help elucidate immune responses. Consequently, knowledge of epitope mapping has allow the construction of peptide vaccines based on epitopes specificity.

Receptor and Ligand Identification

Phage display is an efficient method to determine which proteins or peptides bind specifically to predefined targets. This facilitates the study of receptor-ligand interactions. Furthermore, it sheds new light on cellular signalling pathways through the identification of key inhibitors, agonists and antagonists. In situations where a receptor interacts with multiple ligands, this technology can also help to classify those ligands with the highest binding affinity. This allow further downstream research on receptor and multiple ligands interaction.

Protein-Protein Interaction Studies

Virtually all biological processes are mediated by protein-protein interactions. Phage display provide means of evaluating complex inter-protein relationship. It also allows the identification of known and novel protein binding partners to evaluate the specificity of these associations. As an example, the use of phage display to present multiple phosphorylated and unmodified peptides to a target protein can inform the phospho-specificity of a protein-protein interaction.

Recombinant Antibody Production

Antibody phage display is regarded by many as the gold standard in recombinant antibody production. By screening large numbers of antibody-displaying phages against a target antigen, phages which expresses antibody specific to the target can be identified quickly. One method of producing a library of antibody-displaying phage is to immunise an animal, isolate B-cells, extract mRNA and synthesise cDNA encoding antibody single-chain variable regions (scFv) for cloning into phagemid vectors. It is also possible to purchase pre-synthesised libraries consisting of many different antibody scFv genes.

Directed Evolution of Proteins

Directed evolution introduces desirable features into an existing protein, typically through the acquisition of mutations. In addition, this can also change the function of the protein and alter the specificity for a binding partner. Using a phage display library composed of multiple protein variants, researchers can identify those mutations with the required characteristics.

Drug Discovery

Phage display has widespread utility within drug discovery. Not only can it facilitate the identification of peptide ligands for therapeutic targets, it can also provide a launch point for drug discovery efforts, and is pivotal to understand how these biomolecules may cross-react with other proteins. Therefore, research groups are focused on developing antibody drugs using phage display to investigate antibody selectivity. On top of that, phage technology is also use to identify scFv fragments suitable for targeted delivery of cytotoxic agents to tumours.

Contact us

At Pivotal Scientific, we’re well placed to introduce you to experts in phage display, whatever your research requirements are. Our partner offers comprehensive expertise in multiple phage display applications and deliver high-quality phage display services to meet a range of requirements. Seek advice from an experienced provider now to successfully integrate this technology into a new or existing workflow.

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