What Are Antibodies And What Do They Do?

January 1, 2013

Healthy Life, Medicine

What Are Antibodies

What Are Antibodies

White blood cells are responsible for producing antibodies. They are proteins that form a Y-shape and are responsive to virus, bacteria or other antigens. Antigens complement antibodies in classifying different organisms. Both of them are similar at the branch tips of their respective Y-shapes.

The immune system plays the central role in the production of antibodies. They belong to a group of molecules called immunoglobulins, which are proteins. Four polypeptides join together to form an antibody. Plasma cells release them into the blood, where they locate antigens and attach to them. The shape is specific in the variable region for the binding process.

There are four chains attached to them. Two heavy ones contain 440 amino acids, while the two light ones contain 220 amino acids. The light ones are known as kappa and lambda. The heavy chains have a hinge in the center, which allows for flexibility of the protein. There are different types of antibodies. Antiserum is an antibody that contains serum. Autoantibodies attack the cells of the body itself, and antinuclear target the structures in cell nucleus. The Sox2 antibody is responsible for detecting an antigen like sox2.

Depending upon the structure, you can place antibodies into five classifications, D (IgD), G (IgG), M (IgM), E (IgE) and immunoglobulins A (IgA). The blood contains about 75 percent of IgG. IgM are known to kill bacteria. For protection against infections and allergies, IgE provides protection.

Molecules of antibodies produced by B-lymphocytes circulate in tissue spaces and the bloodstream. When in contact with the target, they bind themselves, which can lead to different outcomes. For example, they may associate with body cells and take the place of the target, or make the target inactive.

Pathogen complexes are formed when antibodies bind pathogens making them inactive. When the pathogen can’t connect with other cells, it eventually dies. During opsonization, the antibodies target the phagocytic cells by releasing a chemical.

Some antibodies play a double role of binding with the target and activating a chain of proteins that wipes off infected viruses and bacteria. However, when the immune system malfunctions, antibodies start destroying themselves. This happens during autoimmune diseases like scleroderma. Antigens can bind and hold two antigens at the same time. A large clump can be formed, and other antibodies can also join in, which will make it larger in size. Due to the large size, it’s not easy for the clump to move around, making it an easy target for neutrophils and macrophages. B cells can change the antibodies they produce depending on whether T cell mediators are present or absent. This leads to an advantage because different isotypes are better at fighting different antigens.

Pathogens also directly interact with antibodies to halt viruses and diseases. This happens when antibodies bind them at a point where they are connected to other cells. This leads to series of events, which allows for neutralization and prevents the threat from spreading. Apart from neutralization, the other two processes to destroy the antigen are precipitation and agglutination.

What Are Antibodies And What Do They Do?

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