Western Blotting

Harry Towbin, Novartis Pharma Inc., Basel, Switzerland

Western blotting (immunoblotting, protein blotting) is a sensitive immunological method for detecting electrophoretically separated proteins. The technique was developed independently by several groups in 1979 and was later termed 'western blotting' because of its analogy to Southern and northern blotting. Its characteristic feature is the transfer of a complex protein pattern resolved by slab gel electrophoresis to a membrane which serves as a carrier for all subsequent immunochemical reactions. Major fields of application in basic research are determination of molecular weights of protein antigens, detection of antigens in crude mixtures of proteins, and assessment of the quality of animal antisera. Western blotting has found important clinical applications in autoimmune disease, allergy, infectious diseases and others.

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