How to avoid pitfalls in antibody use

  • Pauly D
  • Hanack K
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Antibody use is ubiquitous in the biomedical sciences. However, determining best research practices has not been trivial. Many commercially available antibodies and antibody-conjugates are poorly characterized and lack proper validation. Uncritical application of such useless tools has contributed to the reproducibility crisis in biomedical research. Despite early initiatives such as MIAPAR or PSI-PAR, a best practice guideline for antibody characterization is still not in prospect. Here, we analyze 24 antibody-related databases and compare their content with regard to validation aspects and coverage. We also provide a flowchart for end-users with all necessary steps to facilitate finding and choosing specific and sensitive antibodies for their experiments. Based on a growing demand for better and standardized validation procedures and characterization guidelines for antibody molecules we have summarized our findings in a five-point plan. We intend to keep the discussion alive and hope that properly used antibodies will remain as central to biomedicine as they are today.




Pauly, D., & Hanack, K. (2015). How to avoid pitfalls in antibody use. F1000Research, 4, 691.

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