What are polyclonal antibodies?
As known to all, Polyclonal Antibodies represent a heterogeneous mix of antibodies from different B cells that recognize multiple epitopes on the same antigen. Each of these individual antibodies recognizes a unique epitope that is located on that antigen.
Polyclonal antibodies vs Monoclonal antibodies
Since polyclonal antibodies are mentioned, monoclonal antibodies are usually never left out. Both polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies have their own features.
Compared with Monoclonal antibodies, the advantages and disadvantages of polyclonal antibody have been presented as follows:
- The production of polyclonal antibodies is inexpensive and very quickly.
- Polyclonal antibodies offers greater sensitivity for detecting proteins that are present in low expression levels, as the target protein will bind more than one antibody molecule on its multiple epitopes (this is less advantageous for quantification experiments). This makes polyclonal antibodies great for detecting proteins at low concentrations.
- It is easy to store and more stable and tolerant of pH or buffer changing.
- Higher overall antibody affinity against the antigen due to recognition of multiple epitopes.
- In general, ability to detect multiple epitopes gives more robust detection.
- Ideal as the capture antibody in a Sandwich ELISA. Greater ability to quickly capture the target protein.
- Significantly more robust when assaying proteins that show slight variations in individual epitopes such as denaturation, polymorphism or conformational changes.
- Superior for use in detecting a native protein in multiple assay types.
- Much easier to couple with antibody labels. Less likely to affect binding capability.
- Variability between different batches produced in different animals at different times.
- Higher potential for cross reaction and non-specific signal due to recognizing multiple epitopes.
- Affinity purification of the serum will typically be required to minimize cross reactivity.
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