Phage antibodies: filamentous phage displaying antibody variable domains

Nature. 1990 Dec 6;348(6301):552-4. doi: 10.1038/348552a0.


New ways of making antibodies have recently been demonstrated using gene technology. Immunoglobulin variable (V) genes are amplified from hybridomas or B cells using the polymerase chain reaction, and cloned into expression vectors. Soluble antibody fragments secreted from bacteria are then screened for binding activities. Screening of V genes would, however, be revolutionized if they could be expressed on the surface of bacteriophage. Phage carrying V genes that encode binding activities could then be selected directly with antigen. Here we show that complete antibody V domains can be displayed on the surface of fd bacteriophage, that the phage bind specifically to antigen and that rare phage (one in a million) can be isolated after affinity chromatography.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods
  • Coliphages / genetics*
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Probes


  • Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • Oligonucleotide Probes