Bioscience

Artificial antibodies hold biomedical promise

May 20, 2010

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: ScienceDaily] – Antibodies are the immune system’s warriors. Their role is to pinpoint disease pathogens, attaching to them and neutralizing their effects. Though antibodies are of great value for biomedical research, the process of creating them has been time-consuming and tedious. Researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have developed a much faster and simpler way of making synthetic antibodies, by carrying out the usual steps in reverse.

Stephen Albert Johnston and Chris Diehnelt of Biodesign’s Center for Innovations in Medicine at Arizona State University, along with their colleagues, have developed a technique for constructing amino acid sequences, then linking them together to form a synthetic antibody, or synbody, that can bind with one or more protein molecules contained in the vast repository of human proteins — the proteome.

The group has developed a high affinity synbody capable of binding with AKT-1, a critical protein believed to play a role in aging, obesity, and cancer. In addition to the potential of synbodies to directly target proteins associated with disease-causing microbes, they also show great potential as a research tool and building block for novel diagnostics and treatments. The team’s findings appear in the current issue of the journal PLoS ONE.

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