The availability of high quality research tools for detection and manipulation of proteins is often decisive in the extent to which a protein can be studied. Antibodies with high affinity and high specificity towards a certain protein target are such enabling tools, but antibodies with the desired properties are often not available. This is especially true for antibodies targeting membrane proteins such as solute carriers, as the generation of antibodies against membrane proteins is particularly challenging due to their limited hydrophilic surface providing little immunogenic epitopes, their general poor expression levels, and low stability.
A very promising solution of the antibody problem are camelid heavy-chain-only antibodies (‘nanobodies’), that have proven as particular successful in targeting membrane proteins and can be selected with high efficacy by screening procedures for use with the various techniques required. Because of the pivotal importance of these reagents for most projects, nanobodies against SLC26 proteins examined by the Research Unit will be selected and produced by the central Z project