Research press release


Communications Biology

Biotechnology: New strategy for antibody selection

希少な自然発生抗体の迅速単離法について報告する論文が、今週創刊される新ジャーナルCommunications Biology に掲載される。この方法は、将来の生物学的治療薬とワクチンの開発に役立つ可能性がある。


今回、Saravanan Rajanたちの研究グループは、ヒトB細胞の大型プールから希少な抗体を同定するための新しい方法を開発した。Rajanたちは、均一の大きさの微小水滴を生成するガラス製マイクロ流体チップを使って、健康なドナーから得たB細胞の1つを、1個の水滴に封入した。この方法を用いると、100万のB細胞を1個ずつ水滴に封入する作業を40分以内で終わらせることができ、Rajanたちは、自然発生抗体を産生する数百万のB細胞が含まれる当初のプールから抗原特異的抗体を選択し、精製する作業を4週間で完了した。


A strategy for rapidly isolating rare, naturally occurring antibodies is reported this week in a study published in Communications Biology, a new selective, open access journal from Nature Research. The strategy could aid in developing biological therapeutics and vaccines in the future.

During an infection, B cells (a type of white blood cell) produce antibodies against specific protein fragments, called antigens, present on a pathogen. B cells producing antibodies that successfully recognize an antigen will remain in the total pool of an individual’s antibodies, called their B cell repertoire, at very low levels long after the infection has passed. Naturally produced antibodies could be a potential source of drugs to treat diseases; however, identifying specific antibodies from a pool of possibly billions of B cells is extremely challenging, and existing methods for selecting antibodies are expensive and labour-intensive.

Saravanan Rajan and colleagues developed a new strategy for identifying rare antibodies from large pools of human B cells. By using a glass microfluidic chip that can generate evenly sized, microscopic water droplets the authors loaded each droplet with a single B cell from a healthy donor. Using this strategy, one million B cells can be individually encapsulated in droplets within 40 minutes. The new approach allows researchers to select and purify antigen-specific antibodies within four weeks from an initial pool of millions of naturally occurring antibodies.

The authors used their system to screen for antibodies able to recognize multiple subtypes of the influenza virus. This approach led to the identification of seven rare antibodies that existing strategies would be unlikely to detect. The authors believe this approach will be useful for developing therapeutics in the future, particularly for rapidly spreading or emerging infections.

doi: 10.1038/s42003-017-0006-2

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