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The Immunoprecipitation Technique

Introduction

Immunoprecipitation (IP) is a powerful method in molecular biology and biochemistry that involves the identification and isolation of particular proteins from a solution, tissue or lysate by employing the use of antibodies specific to the protein of interest. The process of IP has been employed by researchers to develop a number of experimental and analytical techniques that involve the identification of proteins and their interactions with other proteins or with nucleic acids, reviewed by (Jackson and Dickson, 1999; Ponzielli et al., 2008; Yaciuk, 2007). Such IP techniques have allowed researches to investigate the interactions of biologically active proteins such as receptors and their ligands or kinases and phosphatases with their substrates and have also provided information about the interaction of transcription factors with DNA.

Further techniques have been employed within a pharmacological context in order to diagnose illness and identify drug targets. The presence or absence of a particular protein or family of proteins can often be an excellent indicator of disease pathology and prognosis and therefore the identification of such proteins by IP is an important procedure in diagnosing and treating many human diseases and illnesses, including certain types of cancer, reviewed by (Liu, 2004; Liu, 2005).

Summary

Immunoprecipitation techniques are used to investigate the presence of proteins, the interactions of proteins with other proteins and also their interactions with DNA. There are a number of methods of performing the procedure depending on the aims of the study and the type of proteins under investigation.

Immunoprecipitation has been used to investigate the role of small GTPase proteins in liver disease and because the proteins investigated by IP methods are often involved in human diseases, immunoprecipitation is a very important and powerful technique in pharmacology for the identification of drug targets.

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