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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 variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
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 simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
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
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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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