About this book
Hardly a decade ago, membrane receptors were an attractive but largely unproven concept. Since that time enormous progress has been made, and we are now able to consider receptors much more concretely. Their existence has been established, their binding properties have been determined, and in some cases, they have been highly purified and their physical-chemical properties studied. It is now even possible to visualize microscopically some receptors. This progress has resulted largely from the development of highly powerful methods. These methods are the subject of this volume. Although considerably diverse, different receptors share certain common pro perties, and common problems are encountered in their study. Consequently, a small number of techniques are particularly useful in studying different types of receptors. Thus, it makes sense to speak about membrane receptor methodology. A very apparent problem in the study of membrane receptors is their presence in exceedingly small quantities and in a highly impure state. Therefore, very sensitive and specific techniques are required for their detection, characterization and purification. Such sensitivity and specificity is provided by the ability of receptors to bind certain ligands with very high affmity, and it is not surprising that most of the methods described in this volume depend upon this high affinity binding. The antigen-antibody interaction is of comparable sensitivity and speci ficity. Recently, a number of anti-receptor antibodies have been produced or found to occur spontaneously in auto-immune diseases. Undoubtedly, more will be produced in the future.
chromatography membrane receptor protein receptor