We are currently offering a service for the hyperimmunisation of alpaca and harvest of peripheral blood lymphocytes for RNA extraction to enable 'nanobody' production. All animal procedures are performed with current animal ethics project approvals. No alpacas are harmed or killed in the process.
All members of the camelid family (camels, llama, alpaca, vicugna) produce a unique immunoglobulin molecule devoid of light chains. This 'heavy-chain' only variant is smaller than conventional mammalian IgG and has a wide range of potential uses. Cloning of the VHH sequences from immunised camelid species has recently been utilized for the production of 'nanobodies' as a tool for the crystalisation of proteins. Nanobodies are the small and stable single-domain fragments (15 kD) harbouring the full antigen binding capacity of the original heavy-chain only antibodies that naturally occur in camelids. Nanobodies are encoded by single gene fragments and are easily produced in microorganisms.
The production of nanobodies bgeins with the hyperimmunisation of a camelid species (alpaca), harvest of peripheral blood lymphocytes and extraction of RNA.
General protocols for production of nanobodies in alpaca have been published in the peer review literature:
Pardon, E., Laeremans, T., Triest, S., Rasmussen, S.G., Wohlkonig, A., Ruf, A., Muyldermans, S., Hol, W.G., Kobilka, B.K., Steyaert, J., 2014. A general protocol for the generation of Nanobodies for structural biology. Nat Protoc 9, 674-693.
Maass, D.R., Sepulveda, J., Pernthaner, A., Shoemaker, C.B., 2007. Alpaca (Lama pacos) as a convenient source of recombinant camelid heavy chain antibodies (VHHs). Journal of Immunological Methods 324, 13-25.