The technology could replace the need to produce antibodies within animals, such as mice, and opens up new possibilities for rapidly designing medical treatments more acceptable to the human immune system. Antibodies are proteins produced by white blood cells as part of the immune response.
"Our antibody library offers many advantages over traditional approaches. We expect it will be a more effective tool for scientists," said Michael Feldhaus, PNNL scientist and lead author of a paper appearing in the February issue of Nature Biotechnology and posted online Jan. 21. "Regulated expression of these antibodies allows the library to be expanded while maintaining its diversity. Furthermore, our unique identification process means we can screen for antibodies in days rather than the months it may take using other approaches."
Feldhaus and colleague Robert Siegel built a library of 1 billion human antibodies and expressed them on the surface of yeast cells using a platform designed by collaborator Dane Wittrup of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The combined technologies offer a more powerful, less expensive method for identifying antibodies.
Antibodies play an increasingly important role in industry because they are effective tools for recognizing specific molecules. When antibodies bind to a specific protein on bacteria, it signals other cells to either kill or remove the bacteria. In medical treatments, antibodies are being injected into the body to seek out specific proteins on
Contact: Staci Maloof
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory