The availability of high-quality, reliable and monospecific mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that have been validated and optimized for use in mammalian brain (i.e. NeuroMabs) is of utmost importance to many areas of neuroscience research. Having such reagents for each of the proteins expressed in the brain is necessary to undertake biochemical and immunohistochemical studies to begin to link the nucleic acid sequence information derived from genome-based approaches to the function of the encoded gene products in the brain. Unfortunately, the lack of antibodies against a particular gene product, or antibodies that lack specificity, can severely handicap an entire subfield of neuroscience research and thereby impede progress towards understanding the mechanisms that underlie neurological disease. The UC Davis/NIH NeuroMab Facility works towards this unmet need in two major ways: by generating NeuroMabs for targets that are deemed high-priority by NIH and by distributing them on a low-cost non-profit basis to the neuroscience research community. Seed funds from UC Davis and various NIH sources allowed for the creation of our Facility in 2005 and, over the past nine years, we have undertaken mAb projects against over 400 brain proteins and generated a catalog of over 370 NeuroMabs. Through our contractor Antibodies Incorporated (AI), we have distributed over 44,500 vials of NeuroMabs at low cost to hundreds of researchers at a multitude of different institutions worldwide and our end users have cited the use of NeuroMabs in over 1500 original research publications. Assuming a conservative for-profit price of $350 per 100 g vial of purified mAb, an estimate of the NeuroMab non-profit savings to end users and their respective funding agencies is over $12.5 million. We have proven ourselves to be an establishment with a strong track record of important contributions and we wish to continue serving neuroscience researchers as best as we can. The worthiness of our Facility to the NIH and its mission has been demonstrated time and again through various funding initiatives over the years, most recently from the NIH Director's Transformative R01 Program. In addition, the combined support and cooperation of the NIH, the Regents of the University of California and AI have enabled us since 2011 to collect program income from the distribution of NeuroMabs to support future Facility self-sufficiency and new mAb research and development. However, the combination of the Transformative R01 funds and the accumulated program income is insufficient to hold onto our experienced senior staff, to keep the Facility running at its present-day level of productivity and to continue doing projects of high priority to NINDS. Maintaining strong support from NIH through additional R24 funding would be instrumental to retaining our valuable human and technological resources, preserving our current UC Davis infrastructure and keeping intact our exceptional protection from royalty and licensing surcharges that would unnecessarily raise the prices of NeuroMabs for our end users.

Public Health Relevance

Mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are valuable and crucial reagents for a diverse array of applications that are key to the effective pursuit of neuroscience research. Unfortunately, the current availability of high quality, reliable and monospecific mAbs is inadequate and this limitation hobbles research into the function of proteins that have been implicated in neurological disorders. Moreover, many mAbs from commercial companies are sold at prices that are higher than necessary, especially for the average federally-funded research laboratory who wants to conserve taxpayer dollars. The continuation of the UC Davis/NIH NeuroMab Facility proposed here will help address the need for high quality and low cost mAb reagents that are validated and optimized for use in the brain (NeuroMabs) and thus help apply lessons learned from protein biochemistry and localization studies to the further understanding of the brain.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
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Stewart, Randall R
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University of California Davis
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Taussig, Michael J; Fonseca, Cláudia; Trimmer, James S (2018) Antibody validation: a view from the mountains. N Biotechnol 45:1-8
Simhal, Anish K; Gong, Belvin; Trimmer, James S et al. (2018) A Computational Synaptic Antibody Characterization Tool for Array Tomography. Front Neuroanat 12:51
Gong, Belvin; Murray, Karl D; Trimmer, James S (2016) Developing high-quality mouse monoclonal antibodies for neuroscience research - approaches, perspectives and opportunities. N Biotechnol 33:551-64