Monoclonal vs. Polyclonal Antibodies

One of the key factors in determining the best service or strategy for producing antibodies is the decision of whether to choose monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies. At Cell Culture Company, we are your premier source for monoclonal antibodies customized for your individual needs.

Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks of each type of antibody:

Polyclonal Antibodies

The production of polyclonal antibodies occurs through various B cells in a host animal. These antibodies recognize numerous epitopes of a single antigen. Synthetic peptide and protein are the two most commonly selected antigens. It is possible to produce large quantities of polyclonal antibodies quickly, at low cost, and without the need for complex technology. These benefits make polyclonal antibodies ideal for research efforts.

Advantages of Polyclonal Antibodies

The benefits of polyclonal antibodies include:

  • Quick production time
  • Low cost
  • Great tolerance to antigen changes (polymorphism, denature, and glycosylation heterogeneity)
  • Strong target signal, including for protein with low expression
  • Strong results in WB and IP/ChIP
  • Detection more likely over a range of species
  • Applicable for non-characterized antigens

Disadvantages of Polyclonal Antibodies

The potential drawbacks of polyclonal antibodies include:

  • Some applications may have a higher reactivity and background noise
  • Susceptible to variability from batch to batch

Monoclonal Antibodies

Unlike polyclonal antibodies which are generated from multiple immune cells, monoclonal antibodies are produced by identical immune cells which are clones of just one parent cell. The antibody in this case is very specific, recognizing just a single epitope of an antigen.

Monoclonal antibodies are usually generated through the fusion of myeloma cells with spleen cells from a mouse immunized with the target antigen to generate a hybridoma. Each one of these hybridomas is subsequently grown independently to generate colonies consisting of identical daughter cells. This process enables researchers to gather and compare the secreted antibodies of each hybridoma in order to choose the most advantageous ones to fulfill their ultimate goals of detection and purification.

Monoclonal antibodies are more ideal for applications for the development of antibody drugs or for projects requiring high specificity to the antigens.

Advantages of Monoclonal Antibodies

The various benefits of monoclonal antibodies include:

  • Very specific recognition of only a single epitope of an antigen
  • High level of consistency across experiments
  • Cell lines of immortal hybridoma are theoretically capable of generating unlimited numbers of antibodies
  • Ideal for affinity purification
  • Low level of cross-reactivity and background noise

Disadvantages of Monoclonal Antibodies

Some of the potential drawbacks of monoclonal antibodies include:

  • Longer time for production
  • Higher cost
  • More susceptible to epitope loss from antigen chemical treatment – but this may be countered by pooling at least two monoclonal antibodies.
  • Potentially lower signal

For information about the monoclonal antibody production services we offer at Cell Culture Company, call us today at 763.786.0302 or send us a message through our contact form.