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antibody icon Antibody Plasmid Collection


Addgene now distributes ready-to-use recombinant antibodies made from plasmids in our collection!
These monoclonal antibodies are produced in-house and undergo application-specific validation and quality control by Addgene as well as by our trusted partner labs.


Antibodies are large proteins made by the immune system that bind to an antigen, a particular part of a foreign substance. In addition to being useful for our bodies to fight off intruders, antibodies are also extremely useful to researchers in a lab. When an antibody binds tightly to a specific antigen, scientists can use it to pull out a protein of choice from a mix of other proteins, visualize a protein under a microscope, or detect when the protein is present in a sample--just to name a few.

Traditional sources of antibodies for research purposes include animals or hybridoma cells, but are difficult to generate due to expense and time. An alternative approach is to use synthetically produced recombinant antibodies, created by cloning antibody components into plasmids and expressing these in bacteria, mammalian cells, yeast, plants, or insect cells. Benefits include consistency between lots and the ability to optimize the antibody’s antigen binding sequence to improve binding and reproducibility.

Some scientists choose to work with full length recombinant monoclonal antibodies (R-mAbs) expressed in mammalian cells. Monoclonal antibodies are derived from an individual clone targeting a single antigen. An example of R-mAbs is the NeuroMab collection - monoclonal antibodies extensively validated for neuroscience research applications from the NeuroMab/Trimmer Lab Recombinant mAb Collection. Once the plasmids are transiently transfected into mammalian tissue culture cells, the R-mAbs are secreted into the culture media and can be collected for use.

Other scientists may choose to work with a smaller fragment of an antibody, which could offer increased stability and ease of production due to their small size. These recombinant antibody fragments can be used in experiments such as immunoprecipitation and super-resolution microscopy. Two commonly used plasmid-based antibody fragments are scFvs and single-domain antibodies (also known as nanobodies). For example, scientists often use plasmids encoding scFv fragments that bind to the GCN4 peptide, from the popular SunTag system, fused to sfGFP for imaging.

Learn more about antibodies and their applications in our Antibody Guide!


Cloning and Expressing Antibodies

The following table highlights plasmid collections that can be used to create and express plasmid-based antibodies.

Description Article PI
One-step assembly of antibody heavy- and light-chain DNAs into a single mammalian expression vector A tool kit for rapid cloning and expression of recombinant antibodies. Sci Rep. 2014 Jul 30;4:5885. Andrew Beavil
Cloning and mammalian expression of mouse and human IgG monoclonals with reduced immune effector functions Expression of IgG Monoclonals with Engineered Immune Effector Functions. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1827:313-334. Daniel Christ
pComb3 phage display vector system for producing human antibodies Synthetic Human Antibodies: Selecting and Evolving Functional Proteins. METHODS: A Companion to Methods in Enzymology 8, 94–103 (1995). Carlos Barbas
Variant of the pComb3 phage display vector system for isolation of scFv, diabody and Fab fragment libraries from chickens Methods for the generation of chicken monoclonal antibody fragments by phage display. J Immunol Methods. 2000 Aug 28;242(1-2):159-81. Carlos Barbas
Vector system for expression, dimerisation and detection of recombinant antibody fragments in the form of scFvs A simple vector system to improve performance and utilisation of recombinant antibodies. BMC Biotechnol. 2006 Dec 7;6:46. John McCafferty
CRISPR system to rapidly engineer the constant immunoglobulin domains to obtain recombinant hybridomas, which secrete antibodies as Fab' fragments, isotype-switched chimeric antibodies, and Fc-silent mutants. Functional diversification of hybridoma-produced antibodies by CRISPR/HDR genomic engineering. Sci Adv. 2019 Aug 28;5(8):eaaw1822. Scheeren and Verdoes
Backbones for mouse recombinant antibodies A panel of recombinant monoclonal antibodies against zebrafish neural receptors and secreted proteins suitable for wholemount immunostaining. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015 Jan 2;456(1):527-33. Gavin Wright
pET-30-based vector dedicated to efficient scFv expression, which circumvents the problem of in-frame amber codons in scFvs A new expression vector facilitating production and functional analysis of scFv antibody fragments selected from Tomlinson I+J phagemid libraries. Immunol Lett. 2015 Oct;167(2):95-102. Joanna Bereta
Sybody Generation Toolbox for making synthetic nanobodies (sybodies) against membrane protein targets. Synthetic single domain antibodies for the conformational trapping of membrane proteins. Elife. 2018 May 24;7. and Generation of synthetic nanobodies against delicate proteins. Nat Protoc. 2020 Apr 8. Markus Seeger

Antibody Plasmids

The table below highlights plasmids that feature expression of antibodies, nanobodies or ScFvs. Use the search bar or sort buttons to find antibody plasmids for:

  • Common antigens such as GFP or mCherry
  • Monoclonals, Nanobodies, Sybodies, or ScFVs
  • Secondary antibodies (search for "anti-mouse" or "anti-rabbit")
ID Plasmid Description Gene/Insert PI

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Do you have suggestions for other plasmids that should be added to this list?

Fill out our Suggest a Plasmid form or e-mail [email protected] to help us improve this resource!