In this paper, the authors say:

We demonstrate that for a considerable number of eplets, the antibody-verified status is solely based on polyclonal serum reactivity of multiparous women or on reactivity of murine mAbs. Furthermore, we noted that a substantial proportion of patient sera analyses and human mAb data presented in the HLA Epitope Registry Database has never been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Therefore, we tested several unpublished human HLA-specific mAbs by luminex single antigen beads assay to analyze their HLA reactivity for eplet antibody verification. Although the majority of analyzed mAbs indeed verified their assigned eplets, this was not the case for a number of eplets.

I don't understand how did they have access to the monoclonal antibodies that were published but not in peer-reviewed journal. Surely those authors of non peer-reviewed journals did not ship the antibodies to the authors of this article, right? Is there something I'm not understanding?

  • $\begingroup$ This is not a question about biology but speculation about the provenance of material described in a paper — a question that nobody can answer other than by further speculation. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Nov 6, 2023 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ @David I think this is a reasonable question covering techniques in a biological laboratory. It's very helpful that OP provides enough source material to help answer the question, including a reference to a specific paper. You don't have to answer it. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 6, 2023 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause I will. It is completely trivial and the only methodology involved would be seem to be navigating a database and sending an email . The poster seems to labour under the misaprehension that it is only possible to obtain antibodies when they are described in a publication. The database is too specialized for me to check, but I imagine that anyone can submit, publication or no, and there are details for each eplet (whatever that may be) deposited by the depositors, including names and institutional addresses, regardless of publication. Protein and Gene databanks work that way. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Nov 6, 2023 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ I believe the eplets are the target of the antibodies (the variable region of the epitope) so whilst we have their sequence I'm afraid we do not have the sequence of the antibodies themselves. But there could be a way that the authors skimmed through the articles of the non-peer reviewed articles in which there might have been description of how to get the antibodies (maybe they could be ordered commercially?). $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2023 at 10:19

1 Answer 1



It was pointed out by OP in a comment that the sequences/structures provided in the db are not antibody but antigen sequences, which I overlooked. Therefore, no clear sequences of the antibodies are provided directly in the db.

Original answer

Your confusion is warranted, given that the authors of the paper simply do not describe how they obtained the antibodies (as far as I can tell, though I only skimmed a few sections).

However, I'll note that many researchers would respond to reasonable request for reagents- specifically if it were publicly reported in a database somewhere, which is not too different from publication (peer review not being necessarily any particular mark of distinction; and presumably there is some minimal vetting before database inclusion).

Furthermore, it does appear that for at least many of the antibodies in that database, either full sequence information is available, or the antibodies can be directly ordered commercially.

In such cases, obtaining antibodies would not be an obstacle (though possibly expensive).

  • $\begingroup$ For the "sequence information is available", I'm afraid that's the sequence of the protein targeted. I don't think that's the sequence of the antibody. $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2023 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ @FluidMechanicsPotentialFlows ah I see, sorry I misunderstood the db and assumed that the provided structures were antibodies. I would probably remove your "answered" thing if possible, if not I'll delete the answer. $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2023 at 17:22

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