4.5.2 - The immune system - Part 2

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  • Plasma cells make more antibodies to a specific antigen- Plasma cells are clones of the B lymphocyte. They secrete lots of the antibody, specific to the antigen, into the blood. These antibodies will bind to the antigens on the surface of the pathogen to from lots of antigen-antibody complexes
  • Structure of antibodies- The variable regions of the antibody from the antigen bonding sites. The shape of the variable region is complimentary to a particular antigen. The variable regions differ between antibodies. The hinge region allows flexibility when the antibody binds to the antigen. The constant regions allow binding to all receptors on immune system cells, e.g. phagocytes. The constant region is the same in all antibodies. Disulfide bridges (a type of bond) hold the polypeptide chains together

Antibodies help to clear an infection by:

  • Agglutinating pathogens- each antibody has two binding sites, so an antibody can bind to two pathogens at the same time- the pathogens become clumped together. Phagocytes then bind to the antibodies and phagocytose a lot of pathogens all at once
  • Neutralising toxins- antibodies can bind to the toxins produced by


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