Monoclonal antibodies are often marketed as being superior to polyclonal antibodies. While this might be the case in many applications, this is not necessarily always true. In order to understand what type of antibody is best suited for a particular application, one needs to understand how they are generated.
The first step in producing antibodies always begins with immunizing the animal (alternatively, bird eggs can be used) against the target antigen. This is usually done by injecting a target protein (or fragment) along with an immune response booster. Boster Bio featured products can provide the various antibody products online.
B cells then bind to foreign proteins and divide to form groups of mature B cells that produce identical antibodies known as clones.
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Because many B cells bind to the target antibody at different epitopes and produce different clones that produce several different antibodies for the same protein; The serum obtained from these animals is called the polyclonal antibody serum.
As an alternative, hybridoma cells can be produced from the spleen of immunized animals. Each of these cells expresses antibodies to the target antigen (not necessarily attractive).
Individual colonies are then screened to identify desired antibodies prior to final freezing and cell line expansion. Antibodies obtained in this way from clones are called monoclonal antibodies.
While producing monoclonal antibodies is more complicated and disruptive at first, hybridoma cells become immortal so they can expand and pass almost indefinitely. This means that the cost of monoclonal antibodies is actually much lower in the long term.