In the last years the interest for nanobodies exploded because these molecules possess most of the qualities a binder should have. Their recombinant nature makes them simple to clone and produce fused to different tags and into formats characterized by multiple valency and by the capacity to interact simultaneously with independent epitopes. Both their engineering and in silico optimization is relatively straight forward and their small size is ideal for super resolution microscopy as well as for in vivo imaging and solid tumor penetration.
Nevertheless, the present success follows to twenty years in which such binders remained the target of a niche community and only the long-lasting and systematic work of few groups produced the data that finally convinced many other researchers to test nanobodies. Another issue that probably reduced the interest for such binders in the past was the presence of patents which blocked their commercial development. Therefore, the question now is how many potentially interesting scaffolds exist that are underestimated or even remain undetectable for the research community because there are no strong groups to promote them or economic interests keep them hidden?
In this collection in Microbial Cell Factories we wish to give voice to technological platforms of recombinant binders which could juxtapose established binders such as nanobodies. The possibility to know their existence and their characteristics might be highly beneficial for researchers working in basic science, independently on their commercial value. Of course, significant technical advancements envisaged for already highly validated binders are welcome as well.
We look for submissions of manuscripts describing any aspect related to such alternative scaffolds and methodologies, such as library preparation, panning characteristics, biophysical features and the applications for which the alternative scaffolds are particularly suitable.
Editor: Ario de Marco, University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia. Submission deadline: May 31st 2021.