It wouldn't be possible for the researchers to endeavor huge milestones the way they have achieved overtime in the molecular biology, without devising methods for the Protein Array. The reason behind this is the fact that unlike the DNA, proteins are unstable, i.e. they function in a quite narrow temperature range and they cannot be amplified in vitro in the way the DNA is amplified.
Protein arrays have provided the platform for researchers to achieve deeper comprehension pertaining to the activities and interactions of proteins so as to sort out valuable details regarding their functional prospect. Protein arrays have an edge over its predecessor techniques because of the sophistication it brings by dealing with a number of proteins at a time.
The sensitivity, speed, cost effectiveness, and automated procedure make it the most suitable choice to deal with the proteins. These arrays are also significant because the mRNAs don't determine the extent of expressions, so they don't give any idea on how the protein would influence the biochemical makeup of the cell; at least, the way proteins give.
The basic principle involves the interaction among biomolecules [in this case, proteins] with the immobilized probe. The probe is basically immobilized onto a surface [typically slides of glass or silicon] in such a way that it won't interfere with the protein conformation. Also, the protein is handled using chemicals which would provide the protein with a hydrophilic environment and keeping its binding sites exposed. The interaction/hybridization among the probe & protein is then further processed using high-throughput technologies and bioinformatics tools to understand this interaction.
Analytical microarrays also referred to as antibody arrays utilize the antibodies, aptamers or affibodies, which bind to the target proteins specifically. The interaction between the antibody and antigen is further analyzed using detection systems. The most frequently used detection system includes fluorescent labeling. Considering the possibility of the interference of these labels during hybridization, more sophisticated detection mechanisms have been developed. These include Carbon nanowires & Carbon nanotube mechanisms.
Functional protein microarrays provide an even more robust platform to study details entailing the protein interactions with biomolecules such as other proteins, DNA, RNA, phospholipids and drugs. Functional microarrays provide the arrays for full-length proteins & their domains rather than small peptides.
The diverse applications of protein arrays in diversified fields such as biochemistry, molecular biology, pharmaceuticals or biomedical procedures signify its importance. Protein arrays also have applications in diagnostics, proteomics, functional analysis of proteins, antibody characterization, and development of treatments.
As discussed earlier, the role of protein arrays in treating a large number of proteins at a time, it is also critical to devise even more sophisticated and robust statistical software and bioinformatics tools to handle a large amount of output data. Also, Antibody array can work in a more efficient way by adopting approaches that would expedite the antibody production with enhanced specificity. Although there has been incessant progress in the development of Protein Array procedures in the past decade, it still needs to keep evolving in order to get rid of whatever drawbacks that still exist.