Properties, production, and applications of camelid single-domain antibody fragments

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2007 Nov;77(1):13-22. doi: 10.1007/s00253-007-1142-2. Epub 2007 Aug 18.


Camelids produce functional antibodies devoid of light chains of which the single N-terminal domain is fully capable of antigen binding. These single-domain antibody fragments (VHHs or Nanobodies) have several advantages for biotechnological applications. They are well expressed in microorganisms and have a high stability and solubility. Furthermore, they are well suited for construction of larger molecules and selection systems such as phage, yeast, or ribosome display. This minireview offers an overview of (1) their properties as compared to conventional antibodies, (2) their production in microorganisms, with a focus on yeasts, and (3) their therapeutic applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Camelids, New World
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / biosynthesis*
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / therapeutic use*
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / therapeutic use
  • Models, Biological


  • Immunoglobulin Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains