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Isolation and optimization of camelid single-domain antibodies: Dirk Saerens’ work on nanobodies

By Dirk Saerens


It is well established that all camelids have unique antibodies circulating in their blood. Unlike antibodies from all other species, these special antibodies are devoid of light chains, and are composed of a heavy chain homodimer. These so-called heavy-chain antibodies (HCAbs) are expressed after a V-D-J rearrangement and require dedicated constant gamma genes. An immune response is raised in these HCAbs following a classical immunization protocol. These HCAbs are easily purified from serum, and their antigen-binding fragment interacts with parts of the target that are less antigenic to conventional antibodies. The antigen binding site of the dromedary HCAb comprises one single domain, referred to as VHH or nanobody (Nb), therefore, a strategy was designed to clone the Nb repertoire of an immunized dromedary and to select the Nb with specificity for our target antigens. The monoclonal Nb is produced well in bacteria, is very stable and highly soluble, and it binds the antigen with high affinity and specificity. Currently, the recombinant Nb has been developed successfully for research purposes, as a probe in biosensors, to diagnose infections, or to treat diseases such as cancer or trypanosomiasis

Topics: Autobiography Of Editorial Board Members
Publisher: Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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