Designing recombinant proteins as alternative to antibodies used in detection and diagnostic kits
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Antibodies are used in various detection kits for environmental pollutants, trace molecules in forensics as well as in diagnostic kits for the detection of biomarkers of disease. Recombinant protein expressed in bacteria can be a cost-effective and animal-friendly alternative to antibodies in these detection kits. The computational protein design techniques have matured nowadays to a state that small recombinant proteins called affibodies can be designed as alternatives to antibodies for these kits. These binder proteins expressed in bacteria are (1) cost-effective, (2) can be developed to bind toxins and small molecules that fail to generate an immune response, (3) have more affinity, and most importantly (4) are animal friendly. The great potential of designed proteins for industrial applications will be realized starting from the use of affinity proteins for the detection of various biomolecules and chemicals. The proteins were envisioned as molecular machines of the future and wonder molecules for therapeutics but these dreams could not be realized so far, respectively due to the scale of complexity and long development cycle. But developing proteins for forensic applications like the identification of prohibited substances/chemicals and the detection of biomolecular markers for body fluid identification is easy for the present state of the art in protein science. Therefore a big commercial potential for the startup biotech industry is there in the development of AFAs and manufacturing onsite detection kits.