from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A small molecule that reacts with a specific antibody but cannot induce the formation of antibodies unless bound to a carrier protein or other large antigenic molecule.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any small molecule that can elicit an immune response only when attached to a large carrier such as a protein.
I made the observation that random bred animals immunized with antigens with restricted heterogeneity, such as hapten conjugates of poly L-lysine distribute themselves into two groups, responders and nonresponders.
To overcome that, Dr. Janda attaches a hapten - which is either a bit of the drug itself, or a synthetic version of it - to a larger protein that acts as a platform.
Carrier proteins such as DT stimulate T-helper cells which co-operate with B-cells to enable them to respond to the hapten by providing accessory signals.
First of all, the method does not work with just any antibodies, it works with antibodies to a particular hapten (a β-diketone).
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