Epitopes

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Epitopes, also known as antigenic determinant, are the specific site of an antigen that binds to an antibody or a T cell receptor[1].

Most antigens have a few epitopes. Antibodies can be classified as polyclonal antibodies or monoclonal. Polyclonal antibodies are antibodies taken from different B-cells. The mixture of the antibodies obtained are each specific for one of the various epitopes on an antigen. Monoclonal antibodies, on the other hand, are all the same and will only bind to one specific epitope[2].

Molecular scientists can use a process known as epitope tagging to purify proteins. A peptide tag can be genetically engineered. Once created, if this peptide is actually an antigenic determinant, it is possible to then use the complementary antibody to purify the protein by either the process of affinity chromatography or immunoprecipitation[3].

References

  1. Alberts, Bruce (2008). Molecular Biology of the Cell. 5th ed. New York: Garland Science. p88.
  2. Alberts, Bruce (2008). Molecular Biology of the Cell. 5th ed. New York: Garland Science. p88.
  3. Alberts, Johnson, Lewis, Morgan, Raff, Roberts, Walter - Molecular Biology of the Cell - 6th Edition, page 450.
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