As protein arrays have become increasingly consistent and reliable, more scientists have begun to incorporate them into their proteomics experiments.
Researchers are attracted by the technology's ability to detect protein expression quicker and easier than traditional approaches, such as 2-D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. By allowing scientists to look at multiple protein interactions simultaneously, the seemingly insurmountable challenge of characterizing an organism's proteome is within reach.
While there is tremendous excitement about the potential of protein arrays to further our understanding of protein expression, function, and structure on a microscopically global level, there is also hesitancy, on behalf of many scientists, to adopt a technology that is often still perceived as unstable and irreproducible.
"Protein Microarrays: Technology Adoption and Utilization," a report released in September by market research firm BioInformatics (Arlington, VA), provides insights from over 800 life scientists about the technology's current limitations and their future expectations.
Although no longer considered a new technology, 47% of study participants have been using protein microarrays in their research for six months or less, suggesting a relatively slow rate of adoption since its emergence in the late 1990s. However, this statistic and the fact that 69% of future users plan on using protein arrays within 12 months or less suggests that scientists might now be more receptive to the technology than they were a year ago.
According to the Bioinformatics study, the top three suppliers of treated protein microarray surfaces for self-printing are PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences (www.perkinelmer.com), Eppendorf (www.eppendorf.com), and GE Healthcare (www. gehealthcare.com).
Clontech (www.clontech.com) and Invitrogen (www.invitrogen.com) are top suppliers of commercially available protein microarrays.
Bio-Rad (www.biorad.com), Agilent (www.agilent.com), and PerkinElmer are top suppliers of protein microarray readers.