|MadSci Network: Immunology|
Antigenic activity is the ability of a chemical compound (usually a protein or peptide) to elicit an immune response in a host. The large number of clonal variants in the host and the ability of those clones to mutate allow the host to respond to virutally an unlimited number of antigens. The antigens are taken up by the host by a number of different means and are processed by the immune system. Usually this involves phagocytosis and partial digestion by macrophages. The processed antigen is then presented to immune compartment cells (T cells and B cells), which clonally expand in response to activation. The presentation of antigen can occur in the gut or other mucosal lymphoid compartments. The activated immune cells are often expanded in regional lymph nodes.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Immunology.