Immunization, immune sera and the production of antibodies
Wolf D. Kuhlmann
Division of Radiooncology, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
The overall characteristic of antibody molecules is the uniqueness with which they bind selectively antigens. Thus, the antigen-binding specificity make antibodies important tools in research, in analytics and diagnostics as well as in therapeutic strategies. Antibodies can be produced in vivo or in vitro; they can be of polyclonal or monoclonal origin. Insights into the molecular mechanisms of cellular antibody synthesis enables adaptation of the same principles to the creation of “synthetic” antibodies. The isolation of cDNA from hybridoma or other sources allows for the transfer and engineering of the antibody genes into alternative expression hosts. In the mean time, the technology for the production of various antibody constructs has become significantly developed: full-length hybridoma derived antibodies are used side by side with recombinant antibodies or fragments of antibodies.