AQA GCSE Biology

Revision Notes

3.2.1 Producing Monoclonal Antibodies

Higher Tier Only

Making Monoclonal Antibodies

  • Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies that are made by identical immune cells, these identical immune cells are clones of the parent cell
  • Antibodies are Y shaped proteins made by lymphocytes, (see Human Defence Systems)
  • The antibodies are specific to one binding site on one protein antigen and so are able to target a specific chemical or specific cells in the body
  • They are produced by stimulating mouse lymphocytes to make a particular antibody by exposing them to an antigen

Monoclonal Antibodies, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Biology revision notes

The antigen is injected into a mouse and the antibodies combined with a tumour cell to make clones of the antibody

  • The lymphocytes are combined with a particular type of tumour cell to make a hybridoma cell
    • Tumour cells can divide repeatedly which is why they are used
  • The hybridoma cell can both divide and produce the antibody
  • Single hybridoma cells are cloned, resulting in many divisions, making high quantities of identical cells that all produce the same antibody
  • A large amount of the antibody can be collected and purified ready for use

Exam Tip

The cells produced in this way create only one type of antibody, hence the name ‘monoclonal antibodies’.

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