Definition of Hapten

1. Noun. (immunology) Any small molecule that can elicit an immune response only when attached to a large carrier such as a protein. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Hapten

1. a substance similar to an antigen [n -S] : HAPTENIC [adj]

Medical Definition of Hapten

1. Could be considered an isolated epitope: although a hapten (by definition) has an antibody directed against it, the hapten alone will not induce an immune response if injected into an animal, it must be conjugated to a carrier (usually a protein). The hapten constitutes a single antigenic determinant, perhaps the best known example is dinitro phenol (DNP) that can be conjugated to BSA and against which antiDNP antibodies are produced (antibodies to the BSA can be adsorbed out). Because the hapten is monovalent, immune complex formation will be blocked if the soluble hapten is present as well as the hapten carrier conjugate (assuming there is more than one hapten per carrier then an immune precipitate can be formed). Competitive inhibition by the soluble small molecule is sometimes referred to as haptenic inhibition and this term has carried over into lectin mediated haemagglutination where monosaccharides are added to try to block haemagglutination: the blocking sugar defines the specificity of the lectin. This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology (11 Mar 2008)

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Hapten

happy pill
happy pills
happy puppet syndrome
happy slap
happy slapper
happy slappers
happy slapping
happy slappings
happy snap
happy trails
hapten (current term)
hapten inhibition of precipitation
haptenic inhibition

Literary usage of Hapten

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (1903)
"Neither the antigen-binding capacity nor the sensitivity to inhibition by excess hapten altered much during the 13 weeks of observation period. ..."

2. Science by American Association for the Advancement of Science (1883)
"In guinea pigs that do not respond to poly-L-lysine (PLL), this antigen cannot act as an immunogen- ically effective carrier for a hapten, although it can ..."

3. Reviews in Environmental Health (1998): Toxicological Defense Mechanics edited by Gary E. R. Hook, George W. Lucier (2000)
"Early window effects, hapten spreading, body burdens of benzenoid chemicals ... A fascinating variant of "hapten Spreading from Continuous Exposure" is that ..."

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