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Using protein microarray technology to screen anti-ERCC1 monoclonal antibodies for specificity and applications in pathology

Donghui Ma*, Dror Baruch, Youmin Shu, Kehu Yuan, Zairen Sun, Kaiyan Ma, Toan Hoang, Wei Fu, Li Min, Zhu-Sheng Lan, Fangxun Wang, Lori Mull and Wei-Wu He*

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OriGene Technologies Inc, 9620 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, Maryland, 20850, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Biotechnology 2012, 12:88  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-12-88

Published: 21 November 2012



An antibody with cross-reactivity can create unexpected side effects or false diagnostic reports if used for clinical purposes. ERCC1 is being explored as a predictive diagnostic biomarker for cisplatin-based chemotherapy. High ERCC1 expression is linked to drug resistance on cisplatin-based chemotherapy. 8F1 is one of the most commonly used monoclonal antibodies for evaluating ERCC1 expression levels in lung cancer patient tissues, but it has been noted that this antibody cross-reacts with an unknown protein.


By using a high density protein microarray chip technology, we discovered that 8F1 not only reacts with its authentic target, ERCC1, but also cross-reacts with an unrelated nuclear membrane protein, PCYT1A. The cross-reactivity is due to a common epitope presented on these two unrelated proteins. Similar to the subcellular localization of ERCC1, IHC tests demonstrated that PCYT1A is localized mainly on nuclear membrane. In this study, we also discovered that the PCYT1A gene expression level is significantly higher than the ERCC1 gene expression level in a certain population of lung cancer patient tissue samples. To develop the best monoclonal antibody for ERCC1 IHC analysis, 18 monoclonal antibodies were generated and 6 of them were screened against our protein microarray chip. Two clones showed high mono-specificity on the protein microarray chip test and both worked for the IHC application.


In summary, the 8F1 clone is not suitable for ERCC1 IHC assay due to its cross-reactivity with PCYT1A protein. Two newly generated monoclonal antibodies, 4F9 and 2E12, demonstrated ultra-specificity against ERCC1 protein and superior performance for IHC analyses.