Optimizing antibody expression: The nuts and bolts

Methods. 2017 Mar 1:116:51-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2017.01.009. Epub 2017 Feb 2.


Antibodies are extensively utilized entities in biomedical research, and in the development of diagnostics and therapeutics. Many of these applications require high amounts of antibodies. However, meeting this ever-increasing demand of antibodies in the global market is one of the outstanding challenges. The need to maintain a balance between demand and supply of antibodies has led the researchers to discover better means and methods for optimizing their expression. These strategies aim to increase the volumetric productivity of the antibodies along with the reduction of associated manufacturing costs. Recent years have witnessed major advances in recombinant protein technology, owing to the introduction of novel cloning strategies, gene manipulation techniques, and an array of cell and vector engineering techniques, together with the progress in fermentation technologies. These innovations were also highly beneficial for antibody expression. Antibody expression depends upon the complex interplay of multiple factors that may require fine tuning at diverse levels to achieve maximum yields. However, each antibody is unique and requires individual consideration and customization for optimizing the associated expression parameters. This review provides a comprehensive overview of several state-of-the-art approaches, such as host selection, strain engineering, codon optimization, gene optimization, vector modification and process optimization that are deemed suitable for enhancing antibody expression.

Keywords: Antibody expression; Codon optimization; Expression hosts; Gene optimization; Process optimization; Vector modification.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / genetics*
  • Antibodies / isolation & purification
  • CHO Cells
  • Codon / chemistry
  • Codon / metabolism
  • Cricetulus
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / chemistry*
  • Genetic Vectors / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Pichia / genetics*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Spodoptera


  • Antibodies
  • Codon
  • Recombinant Proteins