I'm having trouble to see a difference between monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. The way I understand it:
- Monoclonal antibodies are produced by the same "clone" or "line" of B-cells and, thus, can bind to a single epitope for some antigen.
- Polyclonal antibodies are produced by multiple "clones" or "lines" of B-cells and, thus, can bind to different epitopes for the same antigen.
However, it is also my understanding that:
- Every B-cell can produce only one kind of antibodies; i.e., the antibody molecules produced by an individual B-cell can all bind to only one epitope.
And so, when combining all these concepts, I can't really find any fundamental difference between monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. To me, the distinction is only applicable when one is discribing the composition of a given substance (i.e. if such a substance contains Abs produced by a single line of B-cells or by multiple lines), but otherwise there's no difference between an individual "monoclonal" Ab molecule and an individual "polyclonal" Ab molecule; i.e., they'd both have the same general properties and functions.
I'd like to know if there is something I'm misunderstanding or if there's some information I'm missing.