Antibodies are indispensible research tools, yet the scientific community has not adopted standardized procedures to validate their specificity. Here we present a strategy to systematically validate antibodies for immunofluorescence (IF) applications using gene tagging. We have assessed the on- and off-target binding capabilities of 197 antibodies using 108 cell lines expressing EGFP-tagged target proteins at endogenous levels. Furthermore, we assessed batch-to-batch effects for 35 target proteins, showing that both the on- and off-target binding patterns vary significantly between antibody batches and that the proposed strategy serves as a reliable procedure for ensuring reproducibility upon production of new antibody batches. In summary, we present a systematic scheme for antibody validation in IF applications using endogenous expression of tagged proteins. This is an important step toward a reproducible approach for context- and application-specific antibody validation and improved reliability of antibody-based experiments and research data.
Keywords: Cell Atlas; GFP; Human Protein Atlas; antibody validation; confocal microscopy; immunofluorescence; spatial proteomics; subcellular localization.