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B lymphocyte activation. Animation showing a T lymphocyte (purple) activating a B lymphocyte (blue). These white blood cells are part of the immune system. B cells mature in bone marrow and are responsible for humoral immunity; they operate by recognising a specific site on the surface of a pathogen or foreign object (antigen), which they bind to before producing antibodies (green, y-shaped) to destroy that antigen. T cells mature in the thymus and are involved in cell-mediated immunity, which does not rely on antibodies to fight antigens, but rather the activation of other immune cells. Upon activation the B cells differentiate in to plasma cells, which produce large numbers of antibodies.
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