An Efficient Method to Generate Monoclonal Antibodies from Human B Cells

  • Jenna J. Guthmiller
  • Haley L. Dugan
  • Karlynn E. Neu
  • Linda Yu-Ling Lan
  • Patrick C. WilsonEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1904)


In the age of personalized medicine, an efficient method to generate monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is essential for biomedical and immunotherapeutic research. Numerous aspects of basic B-cell biology can be studied at the monoclonal level, including B-cell development, antibody responses to infection or vaccination, and autoimmune responses. Single-cell B-cell receptor cloning allows for the rapid generation of antigen-specific mAbs in a matter of several weeks. In this chapter, we provide an efficient method to generate mAbs from peripheral blood plasmablasts and memory B cells induced by infection and vaccination. Additionally, we provide a protocol on how to optimize single-cell B-cell sorting for both single-cell B-cell receptor cloning and single-cell RNA-sequencing, for the application of studying B-cell specificity and function (spec-seq). This protocol can be easily adapted for other B-cell populations, B cells in tissues, and B cells from other organisms.

Key words

Monoclonal antibody B-cell receptor Plasmablast Memory B-cell Cloning Single-cell RNA-sequencing Spec-seq Humoral immunity Vaccination Infection 



The authors would like to thank Anna-Karin Palm, Nai-Ying Zheng, and Min Huang for critical feedback on the manuscript. This work was funded in parts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), National Institutes of Health grant numbers U19AI082724, U19AI109946, U19AI057266, and the NIAID Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS), HHSN272201400005C.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenna J. Guthmiller
    • 1
  • Haley L. Dugan
    • 2
  • Karlynn E. Neu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Linda Yu-Ling Lan
    • 2
  • Patrick C. Wilson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology, The Knapp Center for Lupus and ImmunologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Committee on ImmunologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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