The production and characterization of novel heavy-chain antibodies against the tandem repeat region of MUC1 mucin
Camelidae are known to produce immunoglobulins (Igs) devoid of light chains and constant heavy-chain domains (CH1). Antigen-specific fragments of these heavy-chain IgGs (VHH) are of great interest in biotechnology applications. This paper describes the first example of successfully raised heavy-chain antibodies in Camelus dromedarius (single-humped camel) and Camelus bactrianus (two-humped camel) against a MUC1 related peptide that is found to be an important epitope expressed in cancerous tissue. Camels were immunized against a synthetic peptide corresponding to the tandem repeat region of MUC1 mucin and cancerous tissue preparation obtained from patients suffering from breast carcinoma. Three IgG subclasses with different binding properties to protein A and G were purified by affinity chromatography. Both conventional and heavy-chain IgG antibodies were produced in response to MUC1-related peptide. The elicited antibodies could react specifically with the tandem repeat region of MUC1 mucin in an enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA). Anti-peptide antibodies were purified after passing antiserum over two affinity chromatography columns. Using ELISA, immunocytochemistry and Western blotting, the interaction of purified antibodies with different antigens was evaluated. The antibodies were observed to be selectively bound to antigens namely: MUC1 peptide (tandem repeat region), human milk fat globule membrane (HMFG), deglycosylated human milk fat globule membrane (D-HMFG), homogenized cancerous breast tissue and a native MUC1 purified from ascitic fluid. K a values of specific polyclonal anti-peptide antibodies were estimated in C. dromedarius and C. bactrianus , as 7 x 10 10 M-1 and 1.4 x 10 10 M-1 respectively.