Accelerating antibody discovery using transgenic animals overexpressing the neonatal Fc receptor as a result of augmented humoral immunity

Immunol Rev. 2015 Nov;268(1):269-87. doi: 10.1111/imr.12364.


In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for the development of faster and more efficient technologies for the generation of monoclonal antibodies against challenging targets that are weakly immunogenic or available only in limited amounts. Typical classes of such targets are cell surface antigens such as G-protein related receptors (GPCRs) or ion channels. We have developed transgenic (Tg) mice and rabbits that overexpress the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn), resulting in an augmented humoral immune response even if challenging antigens are used for immunization. The impressively enhanced FcRn-mediated immune reactions are characterized by improved IgG protection and enhanced antigen presentation leading to greater number of antigen-specific T-helper and B-cell activation in lymphoid organs. Notably, these animals do not show any sign of autoimmunity and can be efficiently bred. FcRn overexpression thus leads to a number of practical benefits for improved generation of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against multiple antigens, including weakly immunogenic epitopes or tiny amounts of proteins. This review summarizes our current understanding about the mechanisms by which FcRn overexpression leads to such a significantly enhanced humoral immune response.

Keywords: B-cell activation; antigen presentation; monoclonal and polyclonal antibody generation; neonatal Fc receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / biosynthesis
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibody Formation / immunology
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Gene Expression*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral*
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Rabbits
  • Receptors, Fc / genetics*
  • Receptors, Fc / metabolism*


  • Albumins
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Fc
  • Fc receptor, neonatal