Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Antibodies under the Microscope

An antibody (immunoglobulin), is a large Y-shaped protein produced by B-cells that is used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses. The antibody recognizes a unique part of the foreign target, called an antigen. Each tip of the "Y" shape of an antibody contains a paratope (a structure similar to a lock) that is specific for one particular epitope (similarly analogous to a key) on an antigen, allowing these two structures to bind together with precision. Using this binding mechanism, an antibody can tag a microbe or an infected cell for attack by other parts of the immune system, or can neutralize its target directly.

The production of antibodies is the main function of the humoral immune system. Antibodies are secreted by a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell.

The images below are antibodies that are used for testing auto immune diseases. They were captured using the DCM3.1 microscope camera and software with the BA310 biological microscope.

Antibody 40x

Antibody 100x

Antibody 100x
Antibody 100x

Antibody 100x

Antibody 40x