The interaction between innate and adaptive immunity is mediated by a type of phagocyte called a dendritic cell. These cells are multifunctional; they can detect pathogens and activate an innate response, eliminate pathogens through phagocytosis and, uniquely, activate T cells which in turn signal B cells, leading to the production of antigen-specific antibodies.
A combination of the above functions means that dendritic cells link innate and adaptive immune responses. Adaptive immunity, while slower to develop compared with innate immunity, is pathogen-specific and greatly decreases pathogen survivability. Furthermore, a memory of the encounter is retained, leading to more rapid and effective responses to subsequent infection by the same pathogen.