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.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.