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Research Reports: University of Houston, Xeotron, University of Michigan

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In the August issue of Nature Biotechnology, Xiaolian Gao of the University of Houston and her colleagues at Xeotron and the University of Michigan describe a new approach for producing peptide microarrays that may have general applications to studying peptide-protein and peptide-drug interactions. Instead of employing photo-masks, the scheme relies on conventional peptide chemistry, in combination with in-solution removal of acid-labile protecting groups by photogenerated reagents and digital photolithography, to create an array of up to 8,000 peptides on a one-square-centimeter silicon chip. In their paper, Gao et. al. showed that they could create arrays of peptides containing different combinations of 20 natural amino acids, as well as synthetic amino acid analogs. To demonstrate the utility of the arrays, the researchers performed epitope screening experiments using a p53 antibody, which produced clearly defined binding patterns, the authors claim. In addition, the researchers said their general approach to parallel peptide synthesis is also applicable to building arrays of other molecules, such as RNA, carbohydrates, and small molecule compounds.

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