Why Choose Rabbit Monoclonal Antibodies Over Others?

When developing therapeutics for clinical use or when identifying proteins in research, antibodies have become uniquely positioned as the most appropriate choice.

In 1974, César Milstein and Georges J.F. Köhler were the first to explain the hybridoma method for the creation of monoclonal antibodies.1,2 Now, antibodies can be produced in multiple host species and are essential to molecular biology.

The primary method has since been adjusted with variations that adhere to several particular requirements.3 With several choices now being available, it can be complex to decide whether a polyclonal or monoclonal antibody is right for the experiment at hand.

Why are rabbit monoclonal antibodies the optimal choice instead of the alternative standard polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies like mouse or rat? This article will describe antibodies and why they are so critical to medical and scientific research.

What is an Antibody?

Antibodies are proteins produced by B cells of the immune system to bind, neutralize, and identify the antigens that are exclusive to organisms, for example, bacteria and viruses.

It can be argued that antibodies are the lifeline of scientific, clinical research and diagnostics because of the role that they play in the identification and detection of antigens.4

These antigens are normally proteins but can be small molecules, macromolecules, or nucleotides. An antibody’s ability to successfully bind an antigen relies on the binding sequence on the antigen’s surface, called the epitope, and how efficiently the epitope matches the sequence on the antibody’s binding surface.

Antibodies are formed as Y-shaped molecules where the tail end determines the effector function and enables the antibody’s interaction with other cells in the immune system.

Every arm of the Y has a changeable area that is specifically used to determine the epitope on an antigen. Read the article discussing a brief history of antibodies here.

The polyclonal or monoclonal antibody production method is reliant upon the ability to stimulate a host species’ B cells to constantly create antibodies, which are then harvested and purified for clinical and research applications.

What is the Difference Between Monoclonal and Polyclonal Antibody?

When an animal is injected with an immunogen (antigen), the B cells of the primary immune response emits various antibodies that identify and bind to multiple epitopes on the antigen. As the emitted antibodies are created by multiple plasma cells, they are called polyclonal antibodies.

Monoclonal antibodies are produced to be emitted by the same B cells which are clones from an individual parent cell. The monoclonal antibodies can only identify and bind to the same epitope of an antigen, which decreases the chance of cross-reactivity.

Polyclonal antibodies are normally created in vivo and monoclonal antibodies are created ex vivo, which makes standardization more efficient.

The heterogeneous nature of polyclonal antibodies restricts their validation, development, and use, despite both monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies having distinct weaknesses and advantages for use in research. As such, monoclonal antibodies are normally chosen instead of polyclonal antibodies.

Read the previous article by St. John’s Laboratory to discover the benefits and weaknesses of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies.

Why Choose Rabbit Monoclonal Antibody?

Monoclonal antibodies have conventionally been raised in rodents, for example, mice, as it is inexpensive and simpler to control.

The utilization of rabbits as host species is increasingly becoming the ideal choice of monoclonal antibody for use in a varied range of diagnostics, clinical, and research applications. This is because the immune system of rabbits can generate a wider range of high-affinity antibodies in comparison to mice.

Rabbit monoclonal antibodies also provoke a better reaction to immunogens and have greater specificity and affinity to the epitope.

There is a greater probability of proteins being recognized as self-antigens with antibodies raised in rodents, which means that they are less immunogenic.

Rabbits also tend to be more successful at creating antibodies to smaller peptides with small-size epitopes that normally generate a weak response in mice.

A range of rabbit monoclonal antibodies specific to customer requirements is available from St. John’s Laboratory.


  1. Alkan SS.The discovery of monoclonal antibodies (on Georges Köhler). Allergy 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.13798
  2. Köhler G, Milstein C.Continuous cultures of fused cells secreting antibody of predefined specificity. Nature. 1975; 256:495–497.
  3. Carvalho, L.S., Silva, O.D., Almeida, G.D., Oliveira, J.D., Parachin, N.S. and Carmo, T.S., 2017. Production Processes for Monoclonal Antibodies. Fermentation Processes, pp.182-198.
  4. Brekke, O.H. and Sandlie, I., 2003. Therapeutic antibodies for human diseases at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Nature reviews Drug discovery, 2(1), p.52.

About St John's Laboratory

St John’s Laboratory is your platform for purchasing commercially-validated and peer-reviewed primary and secondary antibodies.

Once established in 2013, St John's Labs knew that antibody validation was rapidly becoming a widespread concern for bioscience. In acknowledgement of these concerns, they invited a collective of industry experts, and business leaders to join the world’s First Antibody Validation Forum in 2014. See clips of the discussions which took place on their blog pages, or YouTube channel.

St John’s Laboratory believes the best way they can guarantee satisfaction in our products is through the provision of up to date testing data, as well as independent assessment - and thereby inviting all of their customers to take part in their Antibody Validation Project, where St John's Labs offer one of the greatest supplies of trial size antibodies available on the market.

St John’s Laboratory's vision is to give researcher partners as much control over their work as possible, by providing real up to date reviews and testing information. They encourage exploration of antibody specificity, species cross-reactivity and applications testing. They work alongside customers to carry out performance tests, so you can be assured that quality is the top of their agenda.

With St John's Laboratory platform, come and explore the performance of your required antibody before making a purchase and they’ll work to help you reduce the risk on your research, and save on essential research funds.

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Last updated: Nov 11, 2019 at 6:08 AM


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