Phage display is the technology that allows expression of exogenous (poly)peptides on the surface of phage particles. The concept is simple in principle: a library of phage particles expressing a wide diversity of peptides is used to select those that bind the desired target. The filamentous phage M13 is the most commonly used vector to create random peptide display libraries. Several methods including recombinant techniques have been developed to increase the diversity of the library. On the other extreme, libraries with various biases can be created for specific purposes. For instance, when the sequence of the peptide that binds the target is known, its affinity and selectivity can be increased by screening libraries created with limited mutagenesis of the peptide. Phage libraries are screened for binding to synthetic or native targets. The initial screening of library by basic biopanning has been extended to column chromatography including negative screening and competition between selected phage clones to identify high affinity ligands with greater target specificity. The rapid isolation of specific ligands by phage display is advantageous in many applications including selection of inhibitors for the active and allosteric sites of the enzymes, receptor agonists and antagonists, and G-protein binding modulatory peptides. Phage display has been used in epitope mapping and analysis of protein-protein interactions. The specific ligands isolated from phage libraries can be used in therapeutic target validation, drug design and vaccine development. Phage display can also be used in conjunction with other methods. The past innovations and those to come promise a bright future for this field.
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