Antibodies are routinely used as research tools, in diagnostic assays and increasingly as therapeutics. Ideally, these applications require antibodies with high sensitivity and specificity; however, many commercially available antibodies are limited in their use as they cross-react with non-related proteins. Here we describe a novel method to characterize antibody specificity. Six commercially available monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies were screened on high-density protein arrays comprising of ~10,000 recombinant human proteins (Imagenes). Two of the six antibodies examined; anti-pICln and anti-GAPDH, bound exclusively to their target antigen and showed no cross-reactivity with non-related proteins. However, four of the antibodies, anti-HSP90, anti-HSA, anti-bFGF and anti-Ro52, showed strong cross-reactivity with other proteins on the array. Antibody-antigen interactions were readily confirmed using Western immunoblotting. In addition, the redundant nature of the protein array used, enabled us to define the epitopic region within HSP90 of the anti-HSP90 antibody, and identify possible shared epitopes in cross-reacting proteins. In conclusion, high-density protein array technology is a fast and effective means for determining the specificity of antibodies and can be used to further improve the accuracy of antibody applications.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->