We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is Antigen Binding?

Daniel Liden
Updated: May 21, 2024

Antigen binding is an immune process in which an antibody binds to an antigen. An antibody is an immune molecule intended to recognize and defeat threats to the body, such as harmful infections; an antigen is a "non-self" molecule that is recognized by the immune system and, generally speaking, attacked by antibodies. Antigens bind to immune receptors throughout the body, generally on the surface of cells, and provoke an immune response. Antigen binding properties may also be used in a laboratory setting, particularly in the area of immunohistochemistry. In immunohistochemistry, specific antibodies are used to determine the prevalence of various antigens in a tissue sample.

Each antibody is primarily defined by a small region at its tip, referred to as its antigen binding site. The binding of antigens and antibodies tends to be highly specific; a given antibody is likely to bind to only a single type of antigen. The antigen binding site is the part of the antibody that determines the particular antigens to which it can bind. Most antibodies are structurally very similar in all areas except the binding site. This antibody specificity means that there are millions of different antibodies, each of which targets a specific antigen.

Antigen binding can have a few different purposes in natural immune system processes. In some cases, an antibody binds to an antigen in order to indicate to other parts of the immune system that it is a threat. The antibody does not neutralize the antigen on its own; it only serves as a marker for other immune mechanisms. In other cases, the antibody does actually neutralize the antigen by binding to the particular part of the antigen that makes it harmful. Antigen binding, then, is an essential immune system process without which many pathogens could not be stopped effectively.

The specificity of antigen binding also is essential to laboratory experiments that utilize antibody-antigen interactions, as the specificities of known antibodies can be used to identify unknown antigens. Antibodies are exposed to a tissue sample and fluorescent markers on the antibodies are often used to indicate whether or not binding occurs. High fluorescence represents a high level of antigen binding, while low fluorescence represents a low level of binding. Certain antigens in a tissue sample can serve as indicators for various diseases. Such processes in immunochemistry are often aimed at developing effective chemical diagnostic methods for diagnosing a variety of diseases.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Daniel Liden
By Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to his work. With a diverse academic background, he crafts compelling content on complex subjects, showcasing his ability to effectively communicate intricate ideas. He is skilled at understanding and connecting with target audiences, making him a valuable contributor.
Discussion Comments
Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to...
Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.