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 Information on immune globulins

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Immunoglobulins (Ig)

 Harris, L. J., Larson, S. B., Hasel, K. W., Day, J., Greenwood, A., McPher.

  Figure 2D
Rotating antibody
 
Jose Saldanha,  H

Glycoprotein molecules that are produced by plasma cells in response to an immunogen and which function as antibodies. The immunoglobulins derive their name from the finding that they migrate with globular proteins when antibody-containing serum is placed in an electrical field  (Figure 1).

II. GENERAL FUNCTIONS OF IMMUNOGLOBULINS

A. Antigen binding
Immunoglobulins bind specifically to one or a few closely related antigens. Each immunoglobulin actually binds to a specific antigenic determinant. Antigen binding by antibodies is the primary function of antibodies and can result in protection of the host.  The valency of antibody refers to the number of antigenic determinants that an individual antibody molecule can bind. The valency of all antibodies is at least two and in some instances more.

B. Effector Functions
Frequently the binding of an antibody to an antigen has no direct biological effect. Rather, the significant biological effects are a consequence of secondary "effector functions" of antibodies. The immunoglobulins mediate a variety of these effector functions. Usually the ability to carry out a particular effector function requires that the antibody bind to its antigen. Not every immunoglobulin will mediate all effector functions. Such effector functions include:

1. Fixation of complement - This results in lysis of cells and release of biologically active molecules

2. Binding to various cell types - Phagocytic cells, lymphocytes, platelets, mast cells, and basophils have receptors that bind immunoglobulins. This binding can activate the cells to perform some function. Some immunoglobulins also bind to receptors on placental trophoblasts, which results in transfer of the immunoglobulin across the placenta. As a result, the transferred maternal antibodies provide immunity to the fetus and newborn

 

Continue to BASIC STRUCTURE OF IMMUNOGLOBULINS