Monoclonal Antibody Production
Process by which large quantities of antibodies (targeted against a particular antigen X) can be produced.
A mouse is immunized by injection of an antigen X to stimulate the production of antibodies targeted against X. The antibody forming cells are isolated from the mouse's spleen.
Monoclonal antibodies are produced by fusing single antibody-forming cells to tumor cells grown in culture. The resulting cell is called a hybridoma.
Each hybridoma produces relatively large quantities of identical antibody molecules. By allowing the hybridoma to multiply in culture, it is possible to produce a population of cells, each of which produces identical antibody molecules. These antibodies are called "monoclonal antibodies" because they are produced by the identical offspring of a single, cloned antibody producing cell.
Once a monoclonal antibody is made, it can be used as a specific probe to track down and purify the specific protein that induced its formation.