Immunoprecipitation (IP) is the small-scale affinity purification of antigens using a specific antibody, and one of the most widely used methods for antigen purification and detection. IP enables researchers to enrich for low-abundance proteins in order to improve downstream analyses, such as identifying the activation status, determining post-translational modifications, or capturing protein-binding partners (co-immunoprecipitation).

We offer both magnetic and agarose bead–based IP solutions

  • Magnetic beads are best suited for the routine smaller-scale isolation of specific proteins and protein complexes, providing a balance of capacity/yield, reproducibility, purity, and cost savings
  • Sepharose® and agarose are recommended for purifying large amounts of protein or antibodies

Choose your immunoprecipitation method

Choose magnetic beads if you have sample sizes <2 mL for standard immunoprecipitation, or if you are doing Co-IP, ChIP, ChIP-Seq,  RIP, fusion tag binding, or if you need to automate.

Choose agarose for sample sizes >2 mL for standard immunoprecipitation, co-IP, or pull-down (i.e., large amounts of protein).

Related applications and products

Magnetic bead–based kits for the capture and pull-down of nucleic acid–protein complexes

Characterizing protein-protein interactions through methods such as co-immunoprecipitation (co-IP), pull-down assays, yeast two hybrid (Y2H), phage display, cross-linking, and label transfer

More than 40,000 high-quality antibodies and an extensive range of antibody-related products and custom services

Resins for specific purification of proteins and other target molecules, kits for immunoprecipitation (IP), activated resins for covalent immobilization of ligands, and columns for packing affinity resins

Things to consider when choosing an IP method

  • Capacity/yield—magnetic beads use much less antibody than Sepharose®/agarose, but still offer a higher yield and lower non-specific background. All antibodies are accessible on the smooth bead surface, allowing for better optimization of binding capacity, yield, and lower non-specific background.
  • Background—can be reduced to almost zero. Through excellent antibody accessibility, non-specific background can be limited, and binding capacity and yield can be improved.
  • Cost—if you include the amount of antibody consumed, the price of per sample for magnetic beads is comparable to that of Sepharose® medium—or potentially even lower as you can typically avoid the pre-clearing step.
  • Complexity—typically, the more complex the IP (e.g., co-IP, ChIP/ChiP-Seq, RIP), the higher the benefits for using magnetic beads.

Learn more about these IP considerations and how Dynabeads® magnetic beads are a better choice for IP

Trends in publications for immunoprecipitation

Published papers on immunoprecipitation

Published papers on ChIP

All sources

Nature

All sources

Nature

Dynabeads® magnetic separation is the fastest growing method for immunoprecipitation  and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP).  Graphs show percent increase/decrease of published papers using Agarose (green), Sepharose® (blue) and Dynabeads® (red) over the last 7 years (IP) and 5 years (ChIP). Source: Google Scholar, Sept. 2013.  Sepharose® is a trademark of GE Healthcare companies.