Before using antibodies to detect proteins that have been transferred to a membrane, the remaining binding surface must be blocked to prevent the nonspecific binding of the antibodies. Otherwise, the antibodies or other detection reagents will bind to any remaining sites that initially served to immobilize the proteins of interest. In principle, any protein that does not have binding affinity for the target or probe components in the assay can be used for blocking.
In practice, however, certain proteins perform better than others because they bind to the membrane more consistently or because they somehow stabilize the function of other system components. In fact, no single protein or mixture of proteins works best for all Western blot experiments, and empirical testing is necessary to obtain the best possible results for a given combination of specific antibodies, membrane type and substrate system.