Phage display describes a selection technique in which a library of variants of a peptide or protein are expressed on the outside of phage virions, while the genetic material encoding each variant resides on the inside of the corresponding virion (1-3). This creates a physical linkage between each variant protein sequence and the DNA encoding it, which allows rapid partitioning based on binding affinity to a given target molecule (antibodies, enzymes, cell-surface receptors, etc.) by an in vitro selection process called panning (4). In its simplest form, panning is carried out by incubating a library of phage-displayed peptides with a plate (or bead) coated with the target, washing away the unbound phage, and eluting the specifically bound phage. The eluted phage is then amplified and taken through additional binding/ amplification cycles to enrich the pool in favor of binding sequences. After 3–4 rounds, individual clones are characterized by DNA sequencing and ELISA.
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