Title: Nanobodies: In which application will they make a difference
Speaker: Prof. Serge Muyldermans, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Time: Nov 5th, Tuesday, 10:00am
Venue: Building 24#-C406
Host: Prof. Jian Sun
Antibodies are preferred tools in research and for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. However, the large and complex antibody molecules are not always easy to handle and scientists reduced their size and complexity.
Camelid possess unique antibodies comprising a homodimer of heavy chain polypeptides circulating in their blood. The antigen of these so-called Heavy chain only antibodies is recognized by virtue of one single domain, the VHH (variable heavy chain domain of heavy chain only antibodies). A straightforward technology was developed to immunize a camelid, to clone the repertoire of VHHs, from which the antigen-specific VHHs are identified after phage display selections. The resulting recombinant, antigen-binding single-domain antibody fragments are also referred to as Nanobodies (Nbs) because of their size of 4 nm by 2.5 nm in diameter.
Nanobodies are well produced in micro-organisms, very robust and highly soluble. They bind their cognate antigen with high affinity and specificity. Very often the Nanobody recognizes an epitope that is difficult to target with human or mouse antibodies. Probably, the largest advantage of Nanobodies comes from their strict monomeric behaviour, the ease to tailor them into larger pluripotent constructs and their functionality when expressed intracellularly.
Such beneficial properties of Nanobodies over other antigen-binding fragments from conventional antibodies inspired many researchers to employ Nanobodies as a versatile tool in various innovative applications in biotechnology and medicine. In this presentation, focus will be on the use of Nanobodies in diagnostic setups, and more particularly for sensitive detections of cryptic or hidden targets or where the antigen has a variable and complex composition.