Monoclonal and Polyclonal Antibodies: A Comparison With Reference To Secondary Antibody

While both Monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies are used in laboratories, polyclonal antibodies are generally given preferences because of the advantages they offer with reference to secondary antibody. Raised in sheep and goats, polyclonal antibodies are comparatively easier to produce and their hybridoma process is also quicker as compared to monoclonal antibodies.

An Introduction to Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are difficult and expensive to produce and as a laboratory reagent they can only recognize merely epitome or recognition site on an antigen at a time which limits their usage.

Producing monoclonal antibodies in laboratory setups requires advanced equipment as well as extensive technical expertise which means that the support staff has to be trained and retrained time and again which adds to the overall time, costs and resource usage.

The hybridoma process for monoclonal antibodies also takes a long time to complete and the serum produced contains only one type of antibody that can target a single epitope on an antigen.

An Introduction to Polyclonal Antibodies

Polyclonal antibodies offer visible advantages over their monoclonal counterparts with reference to secondary antibody, making them the leading choice as a laboratory reagent in a variety of applications.

Not only are they easier to produce, they are also more cost effective in the long run as they are more susceptible  to minor changes in the antigen like denaturation. No special expertise or advanced training is required for its production, which cuts down on the resource usage to a large extent.

Furthermore the hybridoma processing time for the antibody is also shorter which saves time. However, the biggest advantage that polyclonal antibodies offer over monoclonal with reference to secondary antibody is that even a single batch of the serum consists of a variety of non-specific antibodies that are able to recognize multiple epitopes on a single antigen.  

Polyclonal VS Monoclonal Antibodies – Which is the Better Choice?

The primary reason of choosing polyclonal antibodies over monoclonal antibodies is their ability of to recognizing multiple epitopes on any one antigen. However, there are several other  advantages as well that make polyclonal Antibodies a better and cost effective choice for laboratory and research usage.

  • Use in Quantification Experiments – Polyclonal antibodies offer great advantages for experiments like flow cytometry as they can recognize more than one epitopes at a time and in the resulting situation, their target protein will bind with more than one antibody molecule on the different epitopes.
  • Protein Identification – Polyclonal antibodies possess the ability to recognize high homology proteins when screening for target proteins in different specie sample tissue that are unlike the target immunogen.
  • Antigen Testing – Due to their sensitivity in nature, with secondary antibody are often used in scenarios where the true nature of an antigen in a species is unknown. This can also help in detection of cross-reactivity in the sequence of an immunogen, which cannot be achieved by using monoclonal antibodies.
  • Reaction to denaturation or polymorphism – As compared to monoclonal antibodies, polyclonal antibodies are much more tolerant to minor changes in antigens like denaturation.
  • Better Performance for Immunoprecipitation and Chromatin Immunoprecipitation – Polyclonal antibodies can target multiple epitopes in every antigen, which delivers better results in experiments such as Immunoprecipitation.
  • Use for Immunoassays – Polyclonal antibodies are the ideal choice in immunoassays where high sensitivity is required and are preferable over monoclonal antibodies with reference to secondary antibody in activity neutralization assays and Immunoprecipitation. On the other hand, monoclonal antibodies are too specific in nature and thus cannot be used for detection especially for a range of species that is unknown in nature. Though they can be produced in bulk qualities at a time, they can only target a single epitope at a time and are more vulnerable to the loss of epitopes especially during the chemical treatment of antigens.

Affinity Biological Inc. (ABI) has successfully immobilized polyclonal antibodies to resins that can be specifically used to for immune-deplete target proteins from citrated plasma and recover the activity level of target proteins. Several different refined formats of antibodies are available by ABI including Whole IgG, Affinity-purified IgG and Enzyme labeled IgG that are used for diverse applications such as Immunoprecipitation, immunoblotting, immunoelectrophoresis and immuno-depletion.

For more information about eh range of products offered by Affinity Biological, please contact  Affinity Biological Inc. (ABI).