Affinity Maturation: The Path to Improving Antibody Binding

By: Dr. Stephen Pelsue, Science Director I. Overview The functionality of an antibody comes down to how well it can recognize a specific structure and how tightly it binds to that structure.  There are two properties that define antibody-antigen associations: affinity and avidity.  Affinity is the specific binding strength between the epitope of the antigen and the paratope (or antigen binding site) of the antibody, while avidity is the measure of the total antibody-antigen complex.  Avidity is dependent on the affinity of a given epitope as well as the valency of the antibody binding sites–an IgG has a antigen binding
Read More

Categories: Technical Blog.

Lupus Awareness Month: When Antibodies Go Rogue

By: Dr. Stephen Pelsue, Science Director May is Lupus awareness month and May 10th is World Lupus Day, therefore I would like to use this blog post to discuss a slightly different aspect of antibodies. So far we have considered the functionality of antibodies as part of the host defense mechanism; as well as their utility in research, diagnostics, and as therapeutics.  However, antibodies can also participate in disease pathology and most notably in autoimmune diseases.  Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks self and generates a chronic inflammatory condition that leads to tissue damage. Lupus is one such
Read More

Categories: Technical Blog.

Immunization and the Immune Response

I. Overview Thinking back to the discussion on “Hybridoma Development”, the initiation of any antibody program (monoclonal or polyclonal) begins with a series of immunizations in order to generate a specific antibody response.   How the immune system responds to a specific antigen will determine the success or failure of any given project.  Therefore, it is important for us to understand and consider the fundamentals of the immune system to try to drive appropriate responses and maximize the likelihood of success.   II. Fundamentals of the Immune Response The immune system is our primary defense mechanism made up of barriers, cells,
Read More

Categories: Technical Blog.

Generation of Antibody Diversity through Gene Rearrangement and Somatic Hypermutation

By: Dr. Stephen Pelsue, Science Director I. Overview As I have marveled at several times before, antibodies have a remarkable repertoire that allows for the ability to bind to an incredible array of targets. This is both beneficial for immune defense and the protection of the host, as well as the ability to harness this capability in generating monoclonal antibodies. We have previously touched on the ability to generate a diverse repertoire, so I thought that I would explore the genetics and mechanics of how this is actually accomplished. For this review of antibody genetics, I will be focusing on
Read More

Categories: Technical Blog.

B Cell Differentiation: From Stem Cell to an Antibody Producing Plasma Cell

By: Dr. Stephen Pelsue, Science Director I. Overview I have spent most of my adult life and all of my career, studying the development of B cells and antibodies. If you have read any of my previous “The Biology of Antibodies” blog posts, you are likely already well aware of my fascination and amazement of all things antibody. Of particular interest, is the development of B lymphocytes, the cells that produce antibodies. In this post I will provide an overview of B cell development with the goal of providing an understanding of how antibodies are generated in vivo. My review
Read More

Categories: Technical Blog.

Hybridoma Development: The Path to Identifying and Isolating a Specific Monoclonal Antibody

By: Dr. Stephen Pelsue, Science Director I. Overview Monoclonal antibodies have woven themselves into the fabric of basic research, diagnostic and biomarker assays, and therapeutics over the past 3-4 decades and truly transformed our understanding of the biological world.  There is likely no area of biology or medicine that has not benefited (or will benefit) from monoclonal antibodies.  The goal of this blog is to delve into, well—”The Biology of Antibodies”, to better understand the use and development of antibodies for research, diagnostics, and therapeutic purposes.  To begin, I wish to set the foundation of the development and use of
Read More

Categories: Technical Blog.

Fundamentals of Antibody Structure & Function

By: Dr. Stephen Pelsue, Science Director I. Overview:  The immune system is an incredible defense system comprised of an integrated network of cells, barriers, and biochemicals, all working collaboratively to protect the host. What I find most remarkable, is the capacity of the immune system to defend against an enormous array of threats (pathogens, toxins, cancer, etc.), with complete ignorance as to what these threats will be prior to exposure. Antibodies are a critical component of the defense arsenal assisting with identifying, capturing, and removing potential threats as well as protecting against future invasions. Antibodies are gammaglobulin proteins, predominantly referred
Read More

Categories: Technical Blog.

Anti-idiotypes in the Immune Response and Uses as Therapeutics and Analysis Tools

By: Dr. Stephen Pelsue, Science Director I: Defining the idiotype The immune system has the capacity to develop antibodies that can specifically bind to almost any  biological or chemical structure imaginable.  This remarkable repertoire of antibody specificity is defined by the variable region domains of the heavy (VH) and light (VL) chains of the heterodimeric antigenic determinant region, which generates an estimated 1-6 X 106 combinations in mice and humans through the rearrangement of VH and VL genes.  Additional modifications to the VH and VL genes, through somatic mutation and junctional diversity, increase the estimated capacity to produce approximately 1011 to
Read More

Categories: Technical Blog.

Introducing a New Science Director

Maine Biotechnology Services, Inc. is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Stephen Pelsue as Science Director. Dr. Pelsue is providing technical expertise and leadership to our scientific team as they work to develop and integrate new tools, technologies, and processes that enhance our ability to address challenging new antibody targets on behalf of our client base. Prior to joining MBS, Dr. Pelsue was an Associate Professor of Immunology & Molecular Biology at the University of Southern Maine, where he ran a research program investigating the development of autoantibodies in autoimmune diseases, particularly focused on Lupus.  In addition to his research program he
Read More

Categories: New Products, News, Press Releases, and Technical Blog.