High-level generation of polyclonal antibodies by genetic immunization

Nat Biotechnol. 2003 Sep;21(9):1088-92. doi: 10.1038/nbt858. Epub 2003 Aug 10.


Antibodies are important tools for investigating the proteome, but current methods for producing them have become a rate-limiting step. A primary obstacle in most methods for generating antibodies or antibody-like molecules is the requirement for at least microgram quantities of purified protein. We have developed a technology for producing antibodies using genetic immunization. Genetic immunization-based antibody production offers several advantages, including high throughput and high specificity. Moreover, antibodies produced from genetically immunized animals are more likely to recognize the native protein. Here we show that a genetic immunization-based system can be used to efficiently raise useful antibodies to a wide range of antigens. We accomplished this by linking the antigen gene to various elements that enhance antigenicity and by codelivering plasmids encoding genetic adjuvants. Our system, which was tested by immunizing mice with >130 antigens, has shown a final success rate of 84%.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / genetics
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Antibodies / isolation & purification*
  • Antibodies / metabolism*
  • Antibody Formation / genetics*
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods
  • Immunization / methods*
  • Mice
  • Transfection / methods*


  • Antibodies