At the crossroads of chemistry and immunology: catalytic antibodies

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Science  03 May 1991:
Vol. 252, Issue 5006, pp. 659-667
DOI: 10.1126/science.2024118


Immunochemistry has historically focused on the nature of antigenicity and antibody-antigen recognition. However, in the last 5 years, the field of immunochemistry has taken a new direction. With the aid of mechanistic and synthetic chemistry, the vast network of molecules and cells of the immune system has been tapped to produce antibodies with a new function--catalytic antibodies. Because antibodies can be generated that selectively bind almost any molecule of interest, this new technology offers the potential to tailor-make highly selective catalysts for applications in biology, chemistry, and medicine. In addition, catalytic antibodies provide fundamental insight into important aspects of biological catalysis, including the importance of transition-state stabilization, proximity effects, general acid and base catalysts, electrophilic and nucleophilic catalysis, and strain.

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