In recent years, the extent of our vulnerability to misinterpretation due to poorly characterized reagents has become an issue of great concern. Antibody reagents have been identified as a major source of error, contributing to the “reproducibility crisis.” In the current report, we define an additional dimension of the crisis; in particular, we define variation of the targets being analyzed. We report that natural variation in the immunoglobulin “constant” region alters the reactivity with commonly used subtype-specific anti-IgG reagents, resulting in cross-reactivity of polyclonal regents with inappropriate targets and blind spots of monoclonal reagents for desired targets. This raises the practical concern that numerous studies characterizing IgG subtypes in human disease may contain errors due to such previously unappreciated defects. These studies also focus attention on the broader concern that genetic variation may affect the performance of any laboratory or research test that uses antibodies for detection.
Heather L. Howie, Meghan Delaney, Xiaohong Wang, Lay See Er, Linda Kapp, Jenna N. Lebedev, James C. Zimring
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.