Köhler, Georges JF


Georges Köhler (1946–1995) was a German immunologist who, with Cesar Milstein, perfected the hybridoma technique of preparing monoclonal antibodies against specific antigen, for which they received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1984. Köhler joined Milstein at Cambridge as a postdoctoral fellow. His doctoral dissertation had shown that a thousand different murine immunoglobulins could react with a single epitope. He and Milstein investigated antibody gene mutations. Köhler conceived the idea of producing hybridomas. Their synthesis of monoclonal antibodies was proof for the clonal selection theory which postulated that a single B cell and its progeny could synthesise a single antibody expressed as a cell surface receptor and a secreted product. Monoclonal antibodies have broad applications in both basic research and clinical science. After Cambridge, Köhler became an Investigator at the Basel Institute for Immunology and was subsequently appointed Director of the Max‐Planck Institute for Immunology in Freiburg im Breisgau.

Keywords: hybridoma technique; monoclonal antibodies; antibody gene mutations; myeloma; clonal selection theory; immunoglobulins

Figure 1.

Georges J. K. Köhler. Photograph from the private collection of Julius M. Cruse, MD, PhD. © Julius M. Cruse.


Further Reading

Godling JW (1986) Monoclonal Antibodies: Principles and Practice. Production and Application of Monoclonal Antibodies in Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Immunology, 2nd edn. London: Academic Press.

Hurrell JGR (eds) (1982) Monoclonal Hybridoma Antibodies: Techniques and Applications. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Köhler GF and Milstein C (1975) Continuous cultures of fused cells secreting antibody of predefined specificity. Nature 256: 495–497.

McMichael AJ and Fabre JW (eds) (1982) Monoclonal Antibodies in Clinical Medicine. London: Academic Press.

Milstein C (1982) Monoclonal antibodies from hybrid myelomas: theoretical aspects and some general comments. In: McMichael AJ and Fabre JW (eds) Monoclonal Antibodies in Clinical Medicine, pp. 3–13. London: Academic Press.

Milstein C (1986) From antibody structure to immunological diversification of immune response. Science 231: 1261–1268.

Wade N (1982) Hybridomas: the making of a revolution. Science 215: 1073–1075.

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Cruse, Julius M, and Lewis, Robert E(May 2014) Köhler, Georges JF. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002848.pub2]