Happy #humpday, friends! Every Wednesday we’ve got a groovy new #camelfact for you and today is no exception! This Wednesday we’re talking “immunoglobulins” and the unique antibodies possessed by camelids –the family that includes camels, llamas, and alpaca– and how these antibodies were discovered by chance.
At the University of Brussels in the late 80’s, a few biology students were supposed to be extracting antibodies from human serum. Not excited by the prospect of working with boring ol’ human blood, they ended up digging some camel blood out of a lab freezer. Excited by the chance to work with something a little different, they set the blood to thawing and got to work. What they found, though, was something different than they expected — antibodies that were a little different than anything they had seen before. These immunoglobulins –or antibodies– were devoid of light chains and composed only of heavy chains. Dubbed “nanobodies” due to the single type of protein chain (heavy instead of heavy AND light), these nanobodies are exceptionally stable in extreme temperature or PH levels. Not only that, but because of the simplicity of their architecture, these nanobodies can be easily reproduced in vitro! THANKS, CAMELS! And… Happy humpday, friends!