Monday, May 14, 2001
Linus Pauling was wrong when he hypothesized that antibodies became specific for particular antigens because the first time they interacted with the antigen, the antibody wrapped around it and had a specific folding pattern imprinted on it. However the idea of "teaching" a molecule to identify a specific protein, peptide, or molecule has been developed in the form of molecular imprinted polymers (MIPs).
At the time of polymerization, MIPs are exposed to a target molecule such that they solidify with binding sites that identify that target. Though therapeutic antibodies also work by specifically recognizing targeted molecules or peptides, MIPs are cheaper to produce and are active in the gastrointestinal tract, where antibodies are degraded.