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Anticalins versus antibodies: made-to-order binding proteins for small molecules.


Engineering proteins to bind small molecules presents a challenge as daunting as drug discovery, for both hinge upon our understanding of receptor-ligand molecular recognition. However, powerful techniques from combinatorial molecular biology can be used to rapidly select artificial receptors. While traditionally researchers have relied upon antibody technologies as a source of new binding proteins, the lipocalin scaffold has recently emerged as an adaptable receptor for small molecule binding. 'Anticalins', engineered lipocalin variants, offer some advantages over traditional antibody technology and illuminate features of molecular recognition between receptors and small molecule ligands.

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