Antibodies (antibody (Ab))

An antibody (Ab), also known as an immunoglobulin (Ig), is a large, Y-shaped protein that the immune system uses to recognise and neutralise foreign objects like pathogenic bacteria and viruses. The antibody recognises an antigen, which is a unique molecule of the pathogen.
Each tip of an antibody’s “Y” contains a paratope (similar to a lock) that is specific for one specific epitope (similar to a key) on an antigen, allowing these two structures to bind together precisely. An antibody can use this binding mechanism to either tag a microbe or an infected cell for attack by other parts of the immune system or to directly neutralise it (for example, by blocking a part of a virus that is essential for its invasion).

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