The Biology Project: Immunology

Immunology Problem Set

Problem 13: Monoclonal antibodies

Tutorial to help you answer the question:

Within the body, a B cell with a specific antibody can undergo clonal expansion (make many copies of itself) in the absence of antigen.

A. True
B. False


Within the body B cells are signalled to divide only after they bind antigen. Additionally, B cells will not normally grow in culture. In the mid 1970's, scientists discovered a method for producing unlimited amounts of a single antibody.

Hybridoma producing monoclonal antibody
Mice are immunized with an antigen, and B cells isolated from the blood. These cells are fused with cancer cells which grow continuously. Hybrid cells produce the antibody of the B cell, but can now grow in culture. The cells can be cloned or grown from single colonies and screened for specific antibody. Antibodies produced from these "hybridomas" are very useful in biology and medicine.



Problem 13 | Answer

The Biology Project > Immunology > Immunology Problem Set