Molecular Biotechnology

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 60–71 | Cite as

Ribosome Display: A Potent Display Technology used for Selecting and Evolving Specific Binders with Desired Properties

  • Ruowei Li
  • Guangbo Kang
  • Min Hu
  • He HuangEmail author


Ribosome display is a powerful engineering research tool for the high-throughput selection of peptides or proteins, which results in the generation of high-performance binders against nearly any antigen of interest. As a cell-free display system, ribosome display has been well developed with many outstanding achievements for over 20 years. Compared with other related display techniques, ribosome display shows unique advantages and development prospects. This tool has been successfully exploited for the selection of functional and specific binders in vitro. This review provides a comprehensive survey of the applications of ribosome display in screening or evolving functional proteins as well as in diagnostics and therapeutics. Previous papers on ribosome display failed to comprehensively review evolutionary strategies for proteins. In the present paper, we review all existing evolutionary strategies that have been combined with ribosome display. We also discuss shortcomings, improvement strategies, and research tendency.


Ribosome display Display technologies Affinity maturation Stability optimization Evolutionary strategies Diagnostics Therapeutics 


E. coli

Escherichia coli


Single-chain variable fragment


Surface plasmon resonance


Release factors


Ribosome recycling factors

Constant region of Igκ chain


Heavy chain constant domain


Polymerase chain reaction


Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction


Variable region of a heavy chain antibody


Parsimonious mutagenesis


Receptor for advanced glycation end products


Designed ankyrin repeat proteins


Staggered extension process


Indoleacetic acid


Prion protein


Bovine serum albumin


T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma




Hepatitis C virus


HCV cell culture


Protein synthesis using recombinant elements


Extracellular domain


Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2


Equilibrium dissociation constants


Heavy chain variable domain


The complete constant region of the mouse κ light chain





We would like to thank colleagues working on display technologies in our laboratory for their assistance in the field. This work is supported by Grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31470967).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruowei Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Guangbo Kang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Min Hu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • He Huang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biochemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering & TechnologyTianjin UniversityTianjinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Systems Bioengineering (Ministry of Education)Tianjin UniversityTianjinPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and EngineeringTianjinPeople’s Republic of China

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