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Strategies To Maximize Recombinant Antibody Production

Oct 30th 2023

Strategies To Maximize Recombinant Antibody Production

Recombinant antibodies are produced in a laboratory setting by a process of recombinant antibody expression. Since its inception in the mid-1970s, monoclonal antibodies have been the source of inspiration, discovery, and innovations in the biomedical and biological sciences.

It can take between 6 and 8 weeks to create a monoclonal antibody. As a result, due to the growing demand for antibodies, researchers have come up with an alternative technique to produce antibodies faster. That is where recombinant antibody production strategies come in. It’s ideally the process of producing the monoclonal antibodies from the synthetic genes in vitro.

The use of recombinant technology allows for the production of high-quality, homogeneous antibodies with particular characteristics and uses. Recombinant antibodies have increased long-term viability, sensitivity, and affinities to target certain epitopes.

Here, the blog delves into various key strategies to optimize recombinant antibody production, ensuring higher yields, improved quality, and cost-effectiveness. Before that, let’s examine recombinant antibody production's advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Recombinant Antibody Production

recombinant antibody production strategies

Recombinant antibody production is a viable alternative to conventional techniques of producing monoclonal antibodies because it has several benefits, which include the following;

  • More specific customization is possible with the development of recombinant antibodies. Researchers can develop and modify antibodies to achieve certain binding properties, such as higher affinity and specificity.
  • The ability to create partially or entirely human antibodies reduces the possibility that these antibodies would be immunogenic when used in humans. Recombinant antibodies are thus perfect for therapeutic uses.
  • Scalable antibody production makes it possible to produce many antibodies effectively. Maximizing antibody production is essential to fulfill the growing demand in research, diagnostics, and therapeutic applications.
  • The quality and properties of recombinant antibodies can be more consistently maintained between batches. This is especially significant for scientific and medical applications where consistency is vital.
  • The capacity to create recombinant antibodies in greater quantities can make them cost-effective in the long term, even though the initial setup expenses can be substantial. Costs per unit are frequently lower in bulk manufacturing.
  • Bispecific antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), and immune checkpoint inhibitors are some ways researchers can produce antibodies. This adaptability offers new avenues for therapeutic uses by protein production companies.
  • Animals are frequently immunized using traditional techniques of producing antibodies. Recombinant antibody production methods lessen the need for animal models, aligning with morality and animal welfare concerns.
  • Recombinant antibodies can be created to target antigens that are challenging to target using conventional hybridoma methods. This applies to both immunogenicity-low and conservation-heavy antigens.

The drawbacks of creating recombinant antibodies are listed below:

6 Strategies To Enhance Antibody Production

1. Choose The Right Expression System

maximizing antibody production

There are several alternatives when selecting an expression system for synthesizing recombinant antibodies. Popular options include yeast, plants, bacteria, insects, mammals, and cell-free systems. Due to their benefits in producing antibodies with appropriate folding and native-like modifications after translation, mammalian host cells are generally given preferences.

For the synthesis of proteins and antibodies, mammalian cell lines such as the Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK293), NS0, Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO), and baby Hamster Kidney (BHK) are frequentlyutilized.

Human embryonic kidney HEK293 cells are suited for mass recombinant protein expression and may be effectively transfected with the use of low-cost techniques like calcium-phosphate or polyethyleneimine (PEI).

Over 70% of authorized monoclonal antibodies are produced in CHO cells derived from Chinese hamster ovaries and are the favored option internationally for biologics manufacturing. For example, Elisa kit manufacturers need this high-yield antibody expression for quality Elisa test kits.

2. Design Expression Systems

Scientists can now estimate how challenging it will be to produce the target protein by preliminary examining the custom gene synthesis sequence. For vector design, a variety of bioinformatics tools are accessible. Planning a replication strategy comes next after establishing the target and choosing an expression vector.

Ligation-independent cloning (LIC) is a high-throughput cloning and expression method. It has a few vector residues and is compliant with crystallography.

Recombination-based genetic engineering, like In-Fusion, is practical and uses linearized DNA vectors of overlapping ends and DNA fragments produced by PCR. Due to the general availability of synthetic gene technology, some scientists choose to design, synthesize, and subclone genes into expression vectors.

3. Appropriately Deliver the Plasmid

You must first choose the best delivery strategy to introduce your plasmid into mammalian cells successfully. There are several approaches available.

  • Chemical Transfection: This technique uses substances like calcium phosphate or polyethyleneimine (PEI) to make it easier for plasmids to integrate into cells. DNA condenses into positively charged molecules that cling to the cell's surface before being endocytosed inside the cell using PEI, a stable cationic polymer. Although it functions similarly, calcium phosphate can be highly dependent on pH, the outside temperature, and buffering salt concentrations, increasing the risk of cytotoxicity for particular cell cultures.
  • Electroporation: DNA may be introduced into cells using electroporation, which uses an electricity field to make cell membranes more permeable. Although it involves pricey equipment and can potentially harm the cells physically, it is incredibly successful for suspension and adherence cell cultures.
  • Recombinant viral transduction: Cell types that are difficult to transfect or don't divide well should be transduced using this approach. Recombinant protein expression systems based on retroviruses, lentiviruses, or adenoviruses are often utilized. They allow for the transgene's steady integration, ensuring it continues expressing itself across cell divisions. The production of replication-defective particles by retroviral and lentiviral reprogramming is significant because it enables the propagation of the desired genome without continuous viral replication.

4. Choose between Transient and Stable Expression

The two main methods for expressing target proteins or antibodies in cell lines in mammalian expression research are transient and stable transfection.

Transient transfection causes brief peptide synthesis ideal for low yield and quick antibody creation (usually 6–10 days) by introducing foreign DNA into cells without allowing it to integrate with the host genome. With PEI, high transduction rates and economic viability may be attained in HEK293 cells. This technique is excellent for generating data quickly.

While stable transfection includes incorporating the foreign gene within the host genome, careful selection and replication result in the formation of stable clones. Since these clones containforeign genes, stable transfection is helpful for the mass manufacture of recombinant antibodies.

Stable transfection can be utilized in several studies and is especially helpful for long experimental timeframes. Conducting a dose-response graph to establish the optimum dosage to reduce stress on cells caused by the selection indicator in the vector of expression (for example, antibiotics) is advised.

5. Optimize Cell Systems

antibody expression optimization

The components of transient transfection methods are similar, and maintaining healthy cells is essential for productive investigations. Gene synthesis requires various nutrients such as glucose, vitamins, and serum for optimum development and transfection susceptibility.

Apoptosis is an important pathway to look into in every custom antibody service. It’s a controlled cell death process brought on by internal cellular stress or extrinsic signals from other cells. In cell culture, nutritional depletion, and metabolite buildup can cause apoptosis, although it can be prevented.

Ammonia and levels of carbon dioxide can be controlled by changing media components, such as lowering glutamine or bicarbonate. The capacity for cell growth can also be increased by altering gene expression or DNA repair pathways to promote cell survival. Enhancing antibody production and the apoptotic pathway can significantly enhance the production of antibodies in the cell system.

It’s possible to use a variety of elements and techniques to modify cell growth and proliferation and maximize recombinant protein expression. Although most cell lines need a full growth medium, adding growth factors, hormones, and signaling compounds can improve antibody expression. For instance, the synthetic peptide LONG R3 IGF-I can increase cell viability in some cell lines.

The optimal additive combinations can be found by performing a media analysis test for antibody yield improvementwhilemaintaining cell viability. Other additions, like histone deacetylase inhibitors and specialized meal solutions, can also increase the expression of antibodies. The proliferation and survival of cell lines can be improved by overexpressing certain proteins.

Cellular metabolism is another mechanism to increase protein expression. Lactate and protein synthesis can be impacted by diverting metabolic flux into the TCA cycle.

Metabolic factors can also affect the development of antibodies and biomass. To maximize the output of transient expression, evaluate metabolic boosters alone, in combinations, and at varying dosages.

Protein expression and production services can be markedly increased by modulating the cell's stress response system by induction of exogenous stimuli. Another important consideration is how proteins fold; functioning proteins, particularly therapeutic proteins, require appropriate folding. Facilitating proper protein folding can boost protein synthesis and has consequences for biology and research.

6. Employ Quality Purification Techniques

recombinant protein expression, antibody production methods

It’s crucial to improve the antibody purification methods to increase the output of recombinant antibody production. Depending on the precise application and purity requirements, a purification process can be selected from various, including chromatography systems and hand purification.

When antibody expression optimizationis strong, a one-step purification method can produce enough antibodies with the necessary purity for various applications. Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) can improve purity and homogeneity if additional purification is required. Ion Exchange (IEX) and Hydrophobic Interaction (HIC) Chromatography are feasible solutions for further development.

The following purification techniques are available during the production of recombinant antibodies:

  • Affinity chromatography, which divides proteins according to a particular interaction with a ligand attached to a chromatography matrix, offers great specificity, resolution, and capacity.
  • Size exclusion chromatography (SEC), a technique that improves purity and homogeneity, separates molecules by size without causing them to adhere to the chromatography medium.
  • It’s possible to precisely purify antibodies using charge-based Ion Exchange (IEX) Chromatography, which uses variations in net surface charges to separate antibodies.
  • Hydrophobic Interaction Chromatography (HIC) separates antibodies based on surface hydrophobicity and is helpful for capture, intermediate purification, or polishing in the purification process. This approach uses a salt gradient to improve interaction and concentration.

What Are The Essential Steps Involved in Recombinant Antibody Production

The process of making recombinant antibodies involves multiple stages. These steps frequently involve:

Step 1: Identifying the Target Antigen

Finding the antigen of choice that the recombinant antibody will recognize and attach to is the first stage in manufacturing recombinant antibodies.

Step 2: Generating Antibody Collection

An antibody collection is created once the intended antigen has been established. Each of the many fab fragments in this collection has a distinctive sequence that may be able to identify the target antigen.

Step 3: Antibody Screening

The segments of the antibody collection that selectively bind to the chosen antigen are subsequentlyidentified via screening. Recombinant protein synthesis companies use techniques like yeast surface display or phage display can be used for this.

Step 4: Engineering and Optimization of Antibodies

Antibiotic stability, sensitivity, and affinity can be enhanced after recombinant antibody engineering and optimization. Antibody production techniques, like site-directed mutation or antibody fusion, can be used for recombinant antibody manufacturing.

Step 5: Purification and Expression of Antibody

Protein expression and purification services for different applications happen in the latter stages of recombinant antibody production. Techniques used include mammalian cell translation systems and purification based on chromatography.


Recombinant antibody production can be increased by optimizing cell culture conditions and improving plasmid delivery efficiency into the host cell with continuous monitoring and process control. Ultimately, it will result in higher yields, better product quality, and increased antibody manufacturing efficiency.

Innovative approaches and state-of-the-art technology continue to open the door for improvements in research, diagnostics, and therapeutic applications in recombinant antibody manufacturing.

We can open up new doors in the biomedical and biological sciences, increasing our grasp of complicated biological processes and fostering innovation in healthcare and other fields by carefully weighing these techniques and embracing the promise of recombinant antibodies.

If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable antibody production service or product, contact Biomatik to get started

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