Single B cell technologies for monoclonal antibody discovery

Trends Immunol. 2021 Dec;42(12):1143-1158. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2021 Nov 4.


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are often selected from antigen-specific single B cells derived from different hosts, which are notably short-lived in ex vivo culture conditions and hence, arduous to interrogate. The development of several new techniques and protocols has facilitated the isolation and retrieval of antibody-coding sequences of antigen-specific B cells by also leveraging miniaturization of reaction volumes. Alternatively, mAbs can be generated independently of antigen-specific B cells, comprising display technologies and, more recently, artificial intelligence-driven algorithms. Consequently, a considerable variety of techniques are used, raising the demand for better consolidation. In this review, we present and discuss the major techniques available to interrogate antigen-specific single B cells to isolate antigen-specific mAbs, including their main advantages and disadvantages.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal*
  • Antigens
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Humans


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens