Discovery of Monoclonal Antibodies for Diagnostics and Therapies Using Conjugate Virus-like Particle Vaccines
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Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are highly specific antigen binding proteins that are used as biological reagents, therapeutics, and in rapid diagnostics. While mAbs have extensive potential applications, their means production for small molecules and conformationally specific peptides is difficult. Here, we use a method of mAb production in which we pair conjugate virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine with hybridoma technology to produce high-affinity mAbs against three classes of molecules 1) fentanyl derivatives, 2) SARS-CoV-2 peptides, and 3) α-amanitin and microcystin LR cyclic peptide toxins. We successfully produced broad and derivative-selective mAbs against eight fentanyl derivatives. We also showed early signs of success targeting neutralizing and mutant SARS-CoV-2 peptides with conformational specificity using a heterologous prime-boost strategy. Lastly, we produced high affinity mAbs for both α-amanitin and microcystin LR, two highly toxic cyclic peptides. The early success of mAb production against the variety of targets presented in this thesis shows the viability and exceptional versatility of conjugate VLP vaccines as a means to producing mAbs.