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Antibodies are secreted glycoproteins (immunoglobulins), produced by a host immune system in response to the presence of foreign molecules or antigens. Each individual antibody recognizes and binds to just one antigen, with the region of the antigen with which the antibody interacts being called the epitope.
Many applications, both in vivo and in vitro, have been developed with antibodies. These include the detection and localization of intracellular and extracellular proteins, immunoprecipitation and purification. Antibodies raised against protein and peptide antigens have become firmly established as essential laboratory research tools.