Why Rabbit Monoclonal Antibodies?


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Rabbit Monoclonal Antibodies

Rabbits provide strategic benefits over mice when it comes to producing monoclonal antibodies. The obvious feature is the difference in size. One rabbit spleen contains more B cells than what can be obtained from one mouse spleen. More B cells that produce antibodies means a higher chance of finding the right clone for expansion.

Antibodies Against a Wider Range of Epitopes

Immunoglobulin genes from rabbits are able to form antibodies that fit a wider range of epitopes than mouse antibodies. Isoforms of a protein can differ by one amino acid residue, which results in a slight variation in structure. Since rabbit’s immune response can develop antibodies better able to detect these subtle differences, on average, rabbit monoclonal antibodies have 10-100x higher affinity than mouse monoclonal antibodies.

More Small Molecules are Immunogenic in Rabbits Compared to Mice

The rabbit’s immune system is able to mount an immunogenic response to small molecules that are not very immunogenic to mice. For example, small molecules with a small epitope injected into a rabbit is more likely to have high titers compared to a mouse because of the rabbits more complex immune response to antigens.

Reduced Immunodominance

Immunodominance is when certain epitopes from the same antigen are more immunogenic than others. This results in the immune system producing antibodies against the dominantly immunogenic epitope, but few antibodies against the other epitopes. Rabbits have less immunodominance than do mice.