AAT Bioquest

What are the common types of primary antibodies?

Posted June 24, 2022


Monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal bodies are the two common types of primary antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are hybridoma-derived and bind to one specific epitope on the antigen. Their production involves injecting an antigen into a host animal to trigger a humoral immune response. Single epitope binding and consistency between batches are the two major advantages of using monoclonal antibodies. The downsides include the potential to exhibit cell drift over time, low tolerance to minor changes in antigen epitope structure, and the inability to bind with multiple epitopes. 

Polyclonal antibodies 

Polyclonal antibodies recognize and bind to multiple epitopes on the antigen. They are produced by injecting an antigen into a suitable mammal, typically goat, rabbit, or mouse, usually over several weeks. This induces the B-lymphocytes to create immunoglobulins specific for the antigen. The antibodies are purified from the animal’s serum and consist of several different antibodies that recognize different epitopes on the antigen. Multiple-epitope binding, increased reactivity, and more robust detection are the major advantages of using polyclonal antibodies. Downsides include no single-epitope binding, increased likelihood of cross-reactivity due to multiple-epitope binding, and batch-to-batch variability with each animal immunization.

Additional resources

An evaluation of different Cripto-1 antibodies and their variable results

Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)

ReadiLink™ xtra Rapid iFluor® 488 Antibody Labeling Kit *BSA-Compatible*