Phage display technology is based on the linkage between phenotype and genotype and on the replicative capacity of filamentous bacteriophage. Foreign DNA fragments can be inserted into filamentous phage genes coding for phage coat protein to create a fusion protein that is displayed in the phage surface. Billions of antibody fragment (Fab or scFv) sequences can be displayed on phage and presented to different type of proteins in various possible conformations to select specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), as shown by pioneer and co-inventor John McCafferty. Due to the flexibility of the phage display-based selection process, this technology enables the identification of monoclonal antibodies with very specific characteristics, representing an alternative to the classical hybridoma technology.
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