The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is an extremely common and powerful laboratory technique for detecting proteins by antibodies. Researchers frequently use bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a blocking agent to prevent non-specific binding of antigens and antibodies to the microtiter well. While studying the interactions of the vaccinia virus complement control protein (VCP) with complement, we found non-specific binding of VCP to BSA and identify a BSA preparation that did not result in non-specific binding. This work draws attention to the fact that not all BSA preparations are alike. It also highlights the need to perform critical controls to ensure that ELISA reactants do not inappropriately bind to the blocking agent.
Published by Elsevier B.V.