A robust pipeline for rapid production of versatile nanobody repertoires

Nat Methods. 2014 Dec;11(12):1253-60. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3170. Epub 2014 Nov 2.


Nanobodies are single-domain antibodies derived from the variable regions of Camelidae atypical immunoglobulins. They show promise as high-affinity reagents for research, diagnostics and therapeutics owing to their high specificity, small size (∼15 kDa) and straightforward bacterial expression. However, identification of repertoires with sufficiently high affinity has proven time consuming and difficult, hampering nanobody implementation. Our approach generates large repertoires of readily expressible recombinant nanobodies with high affinities and specificities against a given antigen. We demonstrate the efficacy of this approach through the production of large repertoires of nanobodies against two antigens, GFP and mCherry, with Kd values into the subnanomolar range. After mapping diverse epitopes on GFP, we were also able to design ultrahigh-affinity dimeric nanobodies with Kd values as low as ∼30 pM. The approach presented here is well suited for the routine production of high-affinity capture reagents for various biomedical applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Camelids, New World
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Epitopes / immunology*
  • Epitopes / metabolism
  • Gene Library
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / immunology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Immunization
  • Luminescent Proteins / immunology*
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Single-Domain Antibodies / genetics
  • Single-Domain Antibodies / immunology*
  • Single-Domain Antibodies / isolation & purification*
  • Single-Domain Antibodies / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Epitopes
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Single-Domain Antibodies
  • red fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins