Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm a walking contradiction

Antibodies are one of the weapons in our bodies’ immune arsenal that fight off foreign invaders. They recognize something specific in the foreign invader, namely an antigen, bind to it, and thus issue the war cry. Now, the basic structure of each antibody is fundamentally uniform- a heavy chain and a light chain, typically represented in a Y-shape.

Each antibody also has a constant region and a hypervariable region. The constant region (obviously) is what stays the same. The hypervariable region usually exhibits more differences when you compare two distinct antibodies. Moreover, when your body is mounting an immune response, a period of clonal expansion occurs. During this time, the cells that produce antibodies multiply rapidly. And as they multiply, these hypervariable regions are prone to mutations and translocations, all these little changes that amount to slightly nuanced antibodies at the end of the expansion.

This expansion, and these hypervariable regions are essential. The joint process causes your antibodies to evolve when they’re responding to an invader, such that a set of antibodies at the end of the expansion will be even more specific to the foreign antigen. Just imagine that. We all have the tools in our very make up to remain constant while adapting to challenges. We all have a million possibilities to change and evolve into a better version of ourselves, and certain things about us that are steadfast and unmovable.

By the way, Thursday’s alcohol of choice: champagne, b*tches. Tonight, I predict it’s back to vodka.

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