In this manuscript, a method for the immunization of alpaca and the use of molecular biology methods to produce antigen-specific single domain antibodies is described and demonstrated. Camelids, such as alpacas and llamas, have become a valuable resource for biomedical research since they produce a novel type of heavy chain-only antibody which can be used to produce single domain antibodies. Because the immune system is highly flexible, single domain antibodies can be made to many different protein antigens, and even different conformations of the antigen, with a very high degree of specificity. These features, among others, make single domain antibodies an invaluable tool for biomedical research. A method for the production of single domain antibodies from alpacas is reported. A protocol for immunization, blood collection, and B-cell isolation is described. The B-cells are used for the construction of an immunized library, which is used in the selection of specific single domain antibodies via panning. Putative specific single domain antibodies obtained via panning are confirmed by pull-down, ELISA, or gel-shift assays. The resulting single domain antibodies can then be used either directly or as a part of an engineered reagent. The uses of single domain antibody and single domain antibody-based regents include structural, biochemical, cellular, in vivo, and therapeutic applications. Single domain antibodies can be produced in large quantities as recombinant proteins in prokaryotic expression systems, purified, and used directly or can be engineered to contain specific markers or tags that can be used as reporters in cellular studies or in diagnostics.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Journal of Visualized Experiments, 143, e58471.

Copyright © 2019

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

The video component of this article can be found at https://www.jove.com/video/58471/.

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Funding Information

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (P30GM103486).

Material-list.pdf (70 kB)
Materials list