08 Jun

Antibodies

It is important not to confuse antibodies with anti-biotics.  Anti-biotics such as penicillin and azithromycin are prescribed for those who have contracted bacterial infections.  Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins produced by B-cells that bind to a specifc antigen or region of a foreign body.  Each tip of the “Y” can bind to an epitope or specific region of the antigen.  This is a very effective method of protecting the host against infection because antibodies are specific only for a given epitope thus preventing the antibody from binding to vital elements within the host cell.  Antibodies are made by injecting an animal such as a rabbit with an antigen.  The rabbit would then create antibodies against the antigen.  One would then extract blood from the rabbit and purifty the newly formed antibodies.  Antibodies are widely used in life science research for techniques such as Western blot, fluoresence microscopy, and ELISA.