Antibody nomenclature

RAB fhoedem at
Mon May 20 19:02:36 EST 1996

In article <1996May20.103007.18684 at>, bmbrl at 
> I was wondering if anyone out there knows how best to describe 
> antibodies raised to synthetic peptides.  I know that the 
> general description is site-directed or anti-peptide antibodies but I 
> am trying to come up with a brief description which encapsulates 
> the advantages of using these antibodies. 
> Basically, they are polyclonal antibodies but as they are raised 
> to discrete regions of the protein of interest (in my case 
> approx. 15 residues) they can 
>  be considered to recognise a single antigenic determinant. Therefore, 
> I call them "monospecific polyclonal antibodies".  However, somebody 
> has pointed out the possible confusion this generates, as it implies 
> the antibodies recognise an antigen that is present in only a 
> single species of animal (monospecific). Would "monovalent 
> polyclonal antibodies" be a better description?? Thanks in advance 
> Rob 

You have to be very careful with a term like monospecific or monvalent. Your 
antibodies are raised to a single peptide epitope, but such a peptide is 
generally linked to a carrier in a rather non-specific way. (I don't know how 
you did it.) The end result can be a pool of antibodies with different 
affinities, maybe even recognizing different conformations of your peptide. 
The carrier shoudn't be immunogenic, but you never know if you don't have just 
a little bit of crossreactivity. To be on the safe side, just call them what 
they are: polyclonal antibodies.  


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