Antibodies have long been regarded as the only class of binding proteins. With the emergence of protein engineering techniques, new binding proteins based on alternative scaffolds have been designed. Additionally, modern technologies for selection and evolution from libraries are independent of the antibody scaffold and could thus be readily used for obtaining specific binding proteins. One important group of alternative scaffolds is based on repeat proteins. Nature is widely using these proteins to modulate protein-protein interactions, and even in the adaptive immune system of jawless vertebrates; the step to their application as an alternative to antibodies seems therefore logical. In this review, progress on DARPins and other repeat protein scaffolds will be discussed. Advances in their design as well as novel applications will be highlighted.
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