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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain how B cells mature and how B cell tolerance develops
  • Discuss how B cells are activated and differentiate into plasma cells
  • Describe the structure of the antibody classes and their functions

Antibodies were the first part of the adaptive immune response to be discovered by scientists working on the immune system. It was already known that individuals who survived a bacterial infection were immune to re-infection with the same pathogen. Early microbiologists took blood from a patient who was already exposed to a certain pathogen and tested it. They learned that there was a substance in the blood, called an antibody    which prevented the individual from getting sick from that pathogen. As studies continued, it was discovered that antibodies prevented the person from getting sick with the same illness a second time.

What is an antibody? An antibody protein is essentially a secreted from a plasma cell. which develops from B cell. There are five different classes of antibodies found in humans: IgM, IgD, IgG, IgA, and IgE. Each of these has specific functions in the immune response. As researchers learn about them, they are able to learn about the great variety of antibody functions critical to many adaptive immune responses.

B cell differentiation and activation

B cells differentiate in the bone marrow. During the process of maturation, up to 100 trillion different clones of B cells are generated, which is similar to the diversity of antigen receptors seen in T cells.

B cells are activated by binding to antigen. They differentiate into plasma cells. Plasma cells often leave the lymphoid organs migrate back to the bone marrow, where the whole differentiation process started. After secreting antibodies for a specific period, the B cells die, as most of their energy is devoted to making antibodies and not to maintaining themselves.

The final B cell is the memory B cell , which results from exposure to a specific pathogen. Memory B cells function in a way similar to memory T cells. They lead to a stronger and faster secondary response when compared to the primary response. They "remember" the antibody for that pathogen which leads to quick production of antibodies. Often you do not experience any symptoms as the secondary response is so quick and effective.

Antibody structure

Antibodies are proteins consisting of two chains with attached carbohydrates. The heavy chain    and the light chain    are the two proteins that form the antibody. The main differences between the classes of antibodies are in the differences between their heavy chains. There are 2 regions of the heavy chains known as the constant and variable regions .

Five classes of antibodies and their functions

Five classes of antibodies

This table shows the five classes of the immunoglobulins. The table shows the molecular weight, number of antigen binding sites, and their function.

IgM    is the largest of the antibody molecules. IgM is usually the first antibody made during a primary response. Its large shape allows it to bind well to many bacterial surfaces.Thus, it is a very effective antibody against bacteria at early stages of a primary antibody response.

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Difference between extinct and extici spicies
Amanpreet Reply
in a comparison of the stages of meiosis to the stage of mitosis, which stages are unique to meiosis and which stages have the same event in botg meiosis and mitosis
Leah Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Mrs. browne's immune modules. OpenStax CNX. Apr 27, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11783/1.1
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