Difference Between Antigens and Antibodies


There has been a bit of argument over Antigens and Antibodies amongst people in the world and at ScholarsArk we want to show you the clear difference between Antigens and Antibodies.

Antigens and Antibodies

Antigens are molecules capable of stimulating an immune response. Each antigen has distinct surface features, or epitopes, resulting in specific responses.

Antibodies (immunoglobins) are Y-shaped proteins produced by B cells of the immune system in response to exposure to antigens.



Each antibody contains a paratope which recognizes a specific epitope on an antigen, acting like a lock and key binding mechanism.

This binding helps to eliminate antigens from the body, either by direct neutralization or by ‘tagging’ for other arms of the immune system.

Antigen comes from the root term antibody generator and is an organic substance that initiates the creation of antibodies thereby bringing about a prompt immunity retort.

On the other hand, antibodies which are also termed as immunoglobulins comprise of gamma globulin proteins that are contained in the various body fluids and the blood stream in all vertebrates.

Antibodies essentially make use of the immune system to recognize and fight foreign elements or antigens that can cause harm to the system like viruses or bacteria.

Molecule Type

Antigens are made of either polysaccharides or proteins,lipids or nucleic acids. This may contain components like cell walls, capsules, flagella, toxins or fimbrae of viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms.

On the other hand antibodies are made of organic structural units including a couple of large heavy chains and a couple of small light chains of proteins. Antibodies develop from plasma cells in the blood.

Action of Antigens and Antibodies

The purpose that the antibody serves is that it is produced by the body in order to bind and thereon render all foreign particles into an inactivated state in the body. When the entire process of binding goes unhindered the antibody manages to bind specifically the particular antigen in question. The particle that is formed in the process is called the antigen. Antigens on the other hand precisely serve the purpose of stimulating a state of alertness in the body initiating immediate immune response. So the basic difference between an antigen and an antibody is that the emergence of the former leads to the production of the latter, both functioning in an antagonistic organic process to each other. Antibody is the particular protein purposely produced to counter a specific antigen.

action of antibodies on antigens


There are five basic kinds of antibodies,

  1. Immunoglobulin M
  2. Immunoglobulin G
  3. Immunoglobulin E
  4. Immunoglobulin D
  5. Immunoglobulin A

Now coming to antigens, there exist three primary kinds of professional antigen cells including,

  1. Dendritic Cells
  2. Macrophages
  3. B-cells

Other than these three there is another distinctive kind of antigen called the T-independent antigen.

Antibodies are always Y-shaped with a difference in the higher branch. This is due to the structural difference existing amongst the amino acids in the antibodies that help in exact antigen recognition. On the other hand the antigen has a surface that acts as the binding site for the antibody. Once combined by the y branches of the anti body, the antigen gets destroyed.




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