Background: Monoclonal antibodies are used extensively throughout the biomedical sciences for detection of antigens, either in vitro or in vivo. We, for example, have used them for quantitation of proteins on "reverse-phase" protein lysate arrays. For those studies, we quality-controlled > 600 available monoclonal antibodies and also needed to develop precise information on the genes that encode their antigens. Translation among the various protein and gene identifier types proved non-trivial because of one-to-many and many-to-one relationships. To organize the antibody, protein, and gene information, we initially developed a relational database in Filemaker for our own use. When it became apparent that the information would be useful to many other researchers faced with the need to choose or characterize antibodies, we developed it further as AbMiner, a fully relational web-based database under MySQL, programmed in Java.
Description: AbMiner is a user-friendly, web-based relational database of information on > 600 commercially available antibodies that we validated by Western blot for protein microarray studies. It includes many types of information on the antibody, the immunogen, the vendor, the antigen, and the antigen's gene. Multiple gene and protein identifier types provide links to corresponding entries in a variety of other public databases, including resources for phosphorylation-specific antibodies. AbMiner also includes our quality-control data against a pool of 60 diverse cancer cell types (the NCI-60) and also protein expression levels for the NCI-60 cells measured using our high-density "reverse-phase" protein lysate microarrays for a selection of the listed antibodies. Some other available database resources give information on antibody specificity for one or a couple of cell types. In contrast, the data in AbMiner indicate specificity with respect to the antigens in a pool of 60 diverse cell types from nine different tissues of origin.
Conclusion: AbMiner is a relational database that provides extensive information from our own laboratory and other sources on more than 600 available antibodies and the genes that encode the antibodies' antigens. The data will be made freely available at http://discover.nci.nih.gov/abminer.