Reasons why rabbits are capable of producing superior antibodies

The advantages of RabMAb® primary antibodies stem from the uniqueness of the rabbit immune system.

Overview of the rabbit immune system

Our RabMAb® technology enables the development of high-affinity, high-specificity antibodies to challenging targets. Ourselves and others have observed that compared to mice and other rodents, rabbits:

  • Mount immune responses against a broader range of antigens
  • Undergo more somatic gene conversion
  • Possess longer and more heterogeneous CDR3 sequences

Show less immune dominance towards carrier proteins

In addition, the rabbit spleen, the typical source of antibody-producing cells for generation of hybridomas, is larger and contains more cells than a mouse spleen.

The combination of these properties results in a wider range of antibodies and therefore a better chance of finding the right experimental tools than with traditional technologies.

Rabbit monoclonals, for example, have on average 10-100x higher affinity than mouse monoclonals and are often better at detecting subtle differences such as slight sequence variations that distinguish members of a protein family.

View affinity data for RabMAb primary antibodies versus mouse monoclonals

​Learn more about KD and antibody affinity measurement for RabMAb primary antibodies

How does it work? 

The rabbit immune system is capable of generating greater antibody diversity through:

  • Somatic gene conversion
  • Somatic hypermutation
  • Variations in CDRs - rabbit CDRs are much more diverse than rodent and human CDRs: 

    • Greater variation in length and sequence
    • Light chain CDR’s more variable
    • Greater contribution of light chain to antibody specificity
    • Rabbits have longer CDRs in both heavy and light chains than rodents, which is a likely explanation for the high binding affinity of RabMAb primary antibodies
  • Reduced immune dominance
  • Number of lymphocytes in spleen and other immune organs  
  • Extensive gene conversion and mutations lead to greater diversity
  • Affinity maturation continues for a longer time period after immunization, which leads to antibodies with high affinity and specificity.
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