Development of novel monoclonal antibodies against starch and ulvan - implications for antibody production against polysaccharides with limited immunogenicity

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 24;7(1):9326. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04307-2.


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are widely used and powerful research tools, but the generation of mAbs against glycan epitopes is generally more problematic than against proteins. This is especially significant for research on polysaccharide-rich land plants and algae (Viridiplantae). Most antibody production is based on using single antigens, however, there are significant gaps in the current repertoire of mAbs against some glycan targets with low immunogenicity. We approached mAb production in a different way and immunised with a complex mixture of polysaccharides. The multiplexed screening capability of carbohydrate microarrays was then exploited to deconvolute the specificities of individual mAbs. Using this strategy, we generated a set of novel mAbs, including one against starch (INCh1) and one against ulvan (INCh2). These polysaccharides are important storage and structural polymers respectively, but both are generally considered as having limited immunogenicity. INCh1 and INCh2 therefore represent important new molecular probes for Viridiplantae research. Moreover, since the α-(1-4)-glucan epitope recognised by INCh1 is also a component of glycogen, this mAb can also be used in mammalian systems. We describe the detailed characterisation of INCh1 and INCh2, and discuss the potential of a non-directed mass-screening approach for mAb production against some glycan targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / isolation & purification
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Glycogen / immunology
  • Mammals
  • Plants
  • Polysaccharides / immunology*
  • Starch / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes
  • Polysaccharides
  • ulvan
  • Starch
  • Glycogen