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    Why Use Chicken IgY?

  • Here are top 5 reasons:

    1. Higher titres against highly conserved mammalian gene products

    2. Double immunostaining is easier to perform

    3. Animal-friendly -- we purify the antibodies from eggs, not serum

    4. Large quantities of antibody - faster and cheaper

    5. Nearly unlimited quantities (again, because the antibodies come from eggs)

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What is an IgY and what is its relationship to IgG?

Chicken IgY is the major circulating antibody found in chickens and is the avian counterpart to mammalian IgG’s. IgY’s are equivalent to IgG’s in most experimental applications, including Western Blotting, ELISAs, immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, and function blocking experiments.

IgY’s have the same general structure as a mammalian IgG, with 2 heavy (“nu” chains, ~67-70 kDa) and 2 light chains (22-30 kDa) (see figure).

IgY Diagram

The molecular weight of the whole IgY molecule is about 180 kDa, but it often runs as a smear on gels due to the presence of about 3% carbohydrate. Heavy chains of IgY’s are composed of 4 constant domains and one variable domain, which contains the antigen-binding site. Unlike the gamma-chains of IgG, however, the heavy chains of IgY’s lack Fc domains, which means that IgY’s don’t fix complement nor bind protein A or protein G. Chickens also produce an alternatively-spliced form of the heavy chain in which the Cnu3 and Cnu4 domains are deleted. In some individual hens, this F(ab)2-like heavy chain can be seen running at 40 kDa in SDS-(10%) polyacrylamide gels.