The technology to produce monoclonal antibody (mAb) is one of mainstays supporting current biology. Identification and isolation of a specific molecule in situations where many other molecules coexist is the most popular way of using this technology. Some mAb can trigger or suppress the function of a given molecule, thus having a potential for use in manipulating developmental processes. A decade ago, we demonstrated that embryonic components of pigment cell development could be manipulated by injection of a mAb that inhibits the function of the c-Kit tyrosine kinase receptor (RTK) into pregnant mice. While we believe that no other methods were available at that time to freely trigger or suppress the function of such molecules as c-Kit, molecular genetic technologies enabling the same task have been developed recently.
In this article, we want to give a general overview of our previous experience of using mAb for manipulating embryonic processes, and discuss the potential of this technology in the age of new molecular genetics.