There have been cases where researchers have trusted a kit, and they see a positive reaction only to, unfortunately, realize that the kit was actually detecting another protein because the kit’s antibody lot changed. Such was the case for the University of Toronto’s Diamandis team who spent half a million dollars and nearly two years due to an unreliable antibody. A certificate proving that the protein sequence of an antibody remains unchanged would have easily avoided the aforementioned mishaps.
More and more antibodies today are engineered in complex and innovative ways and then produced recombinantly from a known amino acid sequence. With recombinant expression, it is still vital to ensure that the end product, which is the protein produced by the expression system, indeed has the same exact sequence.
State of Antibody Validation
Antibodies’ intrinsic ability to bind antigens is widely exploited across the life sciences and medicine. As antibodies are produced from living systems, they vary from batch to batch. To circumvent issues in variability, scientists perform routine validation experiments focused on antibody function, and track commonly used antibodies through databases such as the Antibody Registry’s Research Resource Identifier (RRID) Portal.
Like other databases, the RRID Portal assigns a number to immunoreagents, and collects references and reagent manufacturer data as support for antibody reproducibility. But despite all these important efforts, batch-to-batch variability continues to impact antibody work. This is because the lack of protein sequence confirmation trumps these efforts.
Though sequence confirmation is routinely done for nucleic reagents, sequence blindness is common with respect to protein sequences, and particularly for antibody reagents.
For protein sequence confirmation to be practical and routine in research, diagnostic or therapeutic work, a low-cost, fast and high-throughput solution is needed. This would lead to increased confidence and importantly, scientists can efficiently complement their validation efforts with protein sequence confirmation. The latter will allow them to significantly reduce the time and cost of traditionally exhaustive validation experiments so they can focus on the important work at hand. In this webinar, we discuss potential solutions for protein sequence confirmation to eliminate “sequence blindness”.