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Two peptide libraries, Ac-MXXXXXBBRM and Ac-VXXXXXBBRM, were constructed on TentaGel solid support to search for ligands that bind tightly with the H9724
Lyme antibody. By using an on-bead ELISA, approximately 120 ligands were selected as candidates for further study. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry analysis of the candidate ligands indicated a high rate of occurrence of certain amino acids at the randomized positions. On the basis of the initial screening results, a small library was designed and iteratively synthesized. Subsequent library screenings led to the identification of four peptides, Ac-PQEEGX-NH2 (X = R, K, A, D), that showed specific affinity to the antibody. This combination of solid-phase screening and iterative synthesis is an effective strategy for rapid identification of ligands that bind tightly with
disease-specific antibodies and should be applicable, at least in principle, to other ligand-receptor systems. This combinatorial library approach can also be a useful tool for the discovery of novel diagnostic agents.