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Epitope Journals

 An epitope is typically a protein segment that is five to six amino acids long. Thus, a full-length protein will have a variety of epitopes to where specific antibodies will bind. Amino acid sequences that are linear in shape are called Continuous epitopes while Discontinuous epitopes refer to amino acid sequences which have a folded conformation. Distinguishing between the two is an important consideration for custom antibody production.It is important to note that a unique antibody is produced by a B cell lymphocyte which recognizes and binds to a single unique epitope. Overtime, antibodies are released by the B cells and travel throughout the bloodstream to aid the immune system in eradicating the foreign molecule that they have been programmed to recognize. Antibodies function both in direct and indirect capacities. For example, viruses are typically disabled by direct binding while pathogens that are bacterial in nature work more indirectly by binding to a protein on the surface of a bacterium. This action promulgates a signal throughout the immune system to bring additional cells forward to help eradicate the pathogen. Future encounters with the same pathogen will be easier to fight as B cells remain in the bloodstream and are prepared to release antibodies against those specific antigens.

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Relevant Topics in Immunology & Microbiology