Calibrating the tools of life scientists: Antibodies

Synanceiidae or Stonefish, elude perception by camouflaging as rocks on the ocean floor. Similarly biological phenomena sometimes elude the perception of scientists, due to imprecise and inconsistent detection tools.

Researchers employ a variety of methods and tools in their day to day work. They rely on that these tools work as they are supposed to. Two new papers from the lab of Egon Ogris now show that several antibodies recognizing the enzyme PP2A, and an antibody widely used in a technique called Myc tagging lack the precision for their intended tasks. Their findings published in “Science Signaling” show that this and other Myc tag antibodies yield inconsistent results depending on the molecular surrounding of the tag, and that antibodies recognizing PP2A often prove to be unsuitable for measuring the activity of this enzyme.

Read full story here.