Antigens are substances that can elicit an immune response in a host, specifically by activating lymphocytes or causing antibody production. They are classified as either foreign or self-antigens depending on whether they enter the body or originate within the body, respectively. Foreign antigens include bacteria, viruses, parasites, chemicals, or even proteins and toxins found in food. In contrast, self-antigens often include mutated or overexpressed proteins.
The portion of an antigen that is recognized by antigen specific receptors on T and B cells or by antibodies is called the epitope or antigenic determinant. Those that elicit strong immune responses are described as highly immunogenic. An antigen is primarily defined by its ability to bind to the variable Fab region of an antibody, and whole antigen or specific epitopes are routinely used to generate antibodies for research purposes. Most research applications rely on the binding of antibodies to target antigens.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Bio-Rad offers antigen expression services to assist you in selecting the best antigen or antigen generation option as part of our HuCAL® custom antibody generation process. Just complete the short inquiry form and one of our specialists will contact you to discuss your research needs.
For assistance with your experiments, visit our resources section for detailed protocols, tips, guides and educational articles. For more information or assistance with choosing an appropriate antigen, please contact our technical support specialists.