Antibody Buying Guide

Finding the Right Antibodies


Antibodies have become valuable and ubiquitous tools in life sciences research and are used primarily to identify and locate proteins.

Different types of antibodies are used for specific applications, and proper selection is key. Here are some considerations for choosing antibodies:

Primary Antibody Selection

  • What type of immunoglobulin does the antibody represent?

    Mammalian antibodies are categorized by isotypes or classes, based on differences in their biological properties, functional locations and reactions to different antigens.
  • Is the antibody produced in a different host species than the target?

    Using antibodies from different species eliminates the need to use a secondary reagent to endogenous tissue Ig for the species. 
  • Does the primary antibody of interest bind specifically to the perceived expressed target antigen in the species and cell type of interest?

    Example: A good Rat-anti-mouse CD31 antibody is available but only works on mouse endothelial cells. To label rat endothelial cells, another antibody must be used.
  • Is the sample or target specimen preparation compatible with the antibody?

    Example: For immunohistochemistry, some antibodies will not work on formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) samples or may work only with non-aldehyde fixed frozen sections.

Secondary Antibody Selection

  • Is the secondary antibody produced in a different species from the primary antibody?

    If the secondary link is not conjugated to a visualization label (FITC, HRP or AP) then a tertiary detection must be used to eliminate non-specific IgG binding. 
  • Does the isotype of the secondary antibody match that of the primary antibody?

    If the primary antibody is IgG, a secondary IgG antibody will work better than a species-matched IgM antibody.

Antibodies are now an integral part of major research areas, including cancer, epigenetics, immunology and neuroscience, and the underlying cell processes that they involve. They also comprise key components in many of the assays performed today in clinical and research laboratories. Use the Advanced Antibody Search on to get the antibodies that you need from Fisher Scientific.

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