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Future Directions of Protein Chips

Protein and Antibody Microarrays

Protein Chip - Future Directions


Future Directions and Conclusions
            Although substantial investments have been made by a large number of companies, protein chips have yet to reach the mainstream of research.  Manufacturers have found that proteins are much more complex than nucleic acids, and the perceived market demands have not matched those initially anticipated (7).       
            Future developments of protein arrays lie in many areas of chip production including the area of protein attachment.  Although most groups are currently adhering proteins to the microarray surface in a random fashion, it is technically feasible to attach proteins through affinity tags. Affinity attachment is likely to result in a higher proportion of active protein and homogeneous attachment of all immobilized proteins.  Detection methods are another important consideration, with requirements of sensitivity, accuracy and quantitation over a wide range. The design of arrays will be influenced by the readout systems which might need to be improved/replaced to take advantage of future advances (8).  Standardization is another issue common to all high throughput technologies: the existence and development of many alternative formats and conditions inevitably leads to problems in comparison of results.  Standards for protein arrays and a framework for their implementation will need to be established at an international level.
            Currently there is little indication of the relative costs the technologies which are offered commercially.  Although diagnostics would drive the technology, it is not clear whether companies will be particularly eager to develop cheaper miniaturized alternatives (9).
            Proteins carry out most of the functions encoded by our genes, and protein array studies will lead to new advances and discoveries in molecular biology and drug design. 
Although a wide variety of technologies have been created for protein arrays, selection must occur to standardize and employ a few of the techniques in order to allow comparison and reproducibility of results, which is critical for the proper advancement of research.  Bioinformatics and genomics have paved the way for a new wave of proteomic advancements.  Using high-throughput methods such as protein chips, researchers may finally be able to look at the big picture instead of focusing on one or two genes at a time.  Furthermore, even if the costs of a protein chip are in the thousands of dollars, the price of one antibody is still in the hundreds.  Moreover, analysis of thousands of proteins will take days instead of years or decades.  The availability of the full human-genome sequence will push the application of protein-chip technology to analysis of the whole human proteome, and allow proteomics to fall into stride with the huge achievements of genomics.


References for Protein and Antibody Microarrays


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Introduction and Background to Protein Chips and Antibody Chips.

Types of Antibody and Protein Chips



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