Antibody validation by Western blotting

Michele Signore, Valeria Manganelli, Alex Hodge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Validation of antibodies is an integral part of translational research, particularly for biomarker discovery. Assaying the specificity of the reagent (antibody) and confirming the identity of the protein biomarker is of critical importance prior to implementing any biomarker in clinical studies, and the lack of such quality control tests may result in unexpected and/or misleading results. Antibody validation is the procedure in which a single antibody is thoroughly assayed for sensitivity and specificity. Although a plethora of commercial antibodies exist, antibody specificity must be extensively demonstrated using diverse complex biological samples, rather than purified recombinant proteins, prior to use in clinical translational research. In the simplest iteration, antibody specificity is determined by the presence of a single band in a complex biological sample, at the expected molecular weight, on a Western blot. To date, numerous Western blotting procedures are available, based on either manual or automated systems and spanning the spectrum of single blots to multiplex blots. X-ray film is still employed in many research laboratories, but digital imaging has become a gold standard in immunoblotting. The basic principles of Western blotting are (a) separation of protein mixtures by gel electrophoresis, (b) transfer of the proteins to a blot, (c) probing the blot for a protein or proteins of interest, and (d) subsequent detection of the protein by chemiluminescent, fluorescent, or colorimetric methods. This chapter focuses on the chemiluminescent detection of proteins using a manual Western blotting system and a vacuum-enhanced detection system (SNAP i.d.™, Millipore).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Antibody
  • Antigen
  • Chemiluminescence
  • Horseradish peroxidase
  • Reverse phase protein microarray
  • SNAP i.d
  • Western blot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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