4 Small But Important Things To Know About Antibody Production

Updated on January 15, 2022

Since the pandemic hit the biosciences sector, researchers and scientists have altered various procedures to make them efficient and cost-effective. However, when it comes to antibody production, the ability of animal immune cells to generate antibodies that can interact and bind to antigens is a quintessential procedure. In addition, researchers and manufacturers use such harnessing methods to detect therapeutic molecules of interest and develop diagnostic applications. 

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Nearly every cell or medical biology researcher committed to molecular analysis utilizes antibody technology in one form or another. It largely depends on their particular research requirements that allow scientists to differentiate antibody purification and production techniques.

What are antibodies?

Antibodies are host proteins produced by bodily immune systems against foreign molecules that penetrate the body. Such molecules can be referred to as antigens. Moreover, their molecular recognition through the system leads to selective custom antibody production that can bind to specific antigens. Antibodies are developed by B-lymphocytes and tend to circulate throughout the lymph and blood to interact and bind.

Moving on, procedures for purifying, generating, and modifying antibodies for industrial utilization as antigen-specific probes developed in the 1970s and 1980s. They have remained unchanged since Lane and Harlow published their classic ‘Antibodies: A Laboratory Manual in 1988.’ However, there’s more to understanding antibody production and how they categorize themselves. Keep reading to learn essential facts about antibody production.

  1. Main Types

Polyclonal antibodies (pAbs)

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In simple terms, poly means many. The name signifies that such antibodies can interact with various types of receptors. pAbs are relatively flexible while binding to an array of antigens. Moreover, the process of producing these antibodies is inexpensive and easy. 

Hybridoma monoclonal antibodies (mAbs):

Hybridoma monoclonal antibodies only interact with one specific antigen in the mix. That is because the production process of these antibodies is labor-intensive.

Recombinant monoclonal antibodies (rAbs):

Professionals utilize recombinant DNA technology to produce these antibodies. They tend to isolate the genes responsible for generating antibodies and further inject them through DNA vectors. In addition, they carry the vectors into hosts such as bacteria, yeast, or cell lines to produce rAbs. If you compare these with monoclonal antibodies, they offer similar advantages. Therefore, researchers utilize them in major applications as a substitute for monoclonal antibodies.  

  1. Applications of Antibodies

Antibodies are an essential component of passive immunity against infectious viruses and agents. Such antibodies eventually interfere and stop the penetration of pathogens. On the other hand, functional antibodies can trigger appropriate and adequate immune responses, leading to germs eradication from the body. 

  1. Antibody characterization

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Antibody characterization is one of the components that comprise three forms of activities performed at several stages. This occurs throughout the antibody purification and production process.  

  • Titering – This process includes measuring functional assay titer and antibody concentration.
  • Screening – During the screening, a researcher looks for antibody samples with antigen-binding specificity.
  • Isotyping – Isotyping determines subclass identity and monoclonal antibody class.

Screening is one of the first steps required during antibody production to identify and administer which hybridoma clones or animals produce a significant level of antigen-specific antibodies. Scientists usually utilize ELISA techniques to determine its outcome.

One can easily estimate the antibody concentration using either immunoglobulin-specific and species methods or general protein assay kits. Meanwhile, antibody titer relates to antibody concentration but refers to specific antibody samples’ effective and valuable potency. Measuring titers mean determining functional dilutions of antibody samples essential for detecting with the assay like ELISA.

Isotyping comprises subclass and class determining of monoclonal antibodies. This is one of the critical steps under antibody production since selecting a suitable modification and production molecule method is essential. 

  1. Antibody fragmentation

In antibody production, purified antibodies are subjected to go through modifications for specific uses. This can occur via various processes such as fragmentation that lead to smaller antigen-binding units, immobilization to solid supports, enzyme conjugation, and other detectable markers. Many times, researchers use antibodies in the whole-molecule form. However, the performance of some experiments and techniques can improve through the use of antibodies whose redundant portions have been separated.

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Antibody fragmentation is a part of production processes where it follows the procedure of cleaving entire antibody molecules. This is followed by the removal of portions that are integral for antigen interaction and binding. F(ab)’2 and Fab are specific IgG antibody fragments that are most customarily utilized and created by researchers and scientists.

Final Thoughts

The ongoing pandemic has shown that time is intrinsic when producing vaccines to diagnose and treat antigens. The antibody production techniques have enabled researchers to undertake several medical tests to determine its efficacy and efficiency. Furthermore, antibody production is a synthetic process that serves various purposes in the modern world, from cancer treatment to immediate infection detection.


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