MICROSCAPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICROSCAPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Plasma cell. Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a section through a plasma cell located within tissue. Plasma cells are derived from stimulated B lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are antibody factories' programmed to produce copious quantities of one type of antibody with a highly specific binding affinity for a particular antigen. Antibody-antigen binding marks the antigen-bearing target for destruction or disabling by other components of the immune system. This plasma cell shows significant dilation of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER, dark circular lines) as the cisternal space within is filled with fine granular material representing the synthesis and assembly of peptides that will ultimately become a unique, single protein secretory product such as immunoglobulins or antibodies. Magnification: x12,000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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