First and third authors: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, UK, CB2 3EA; second author: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, UK, OX1 3RB
A murine monoclonal antibody (MAb) of immunoglobulin class M (IgM) was raised against surface antigens from Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici and, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, recognized isolates of G. graminis var. tritici, G. graminis var. avenae and G. graminis var. graminis. Characterization of the antigen by heat and protease treatments showed that the epitope recognized by the MAb was a protein. Antigen production was detected only in live mycelia. Immunofluorescence studies showed that the antigen was associated with both the broad melanized macrohyphae and hyaline mycelia of G. graminis var. tritici. Secretion of antigen into an aqueous minimal medium was promoted only by exposure of live mycelia to certain phenolic substrates, including monophenols ortho-, para-, and meta-cresol; 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid (gallic acid); and phenolic amino acid L-3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl) alanine (L-DOPA). Antigen secretion was not promoted by 3-(4-hydroxyphenyl) alanine (L-tyrosine). The MAb reacted strongly with purified enzyme laccase (polyphenol oxidase, EC 220.127.116.11) but did not recognize purified tyrosinase (monophenol oxidase, EC 18.104.22.168). Moreover, chemicals that bind to copper and inhibit copper-containing enzymes such as laccase completely inhibited antigen secretion in response to L-DOPA. The MAb was tested for specificity against a wide range of fungi, common yeast species, and gram positive and negative bacteria. It did not recognize antigens from a broad range of unrelated fungi, including Gliocladium roseum, Fusarium sp., Phoma exigua, Phialophora fastigiata, Penicillium crustosum, Pythium ultimum, Rhizopus stolonifer, Rhizoctonia carotae, R. oryzae, R. tuliparum, and Trichoderma viride, nor did it recognize surface antigens from yeasts or bacteria. The MAb cross-reacted with antigens from Botrytis spp., Chaetomium globosum, R. cerealis, and R. solani. However, secretion of antigen by R. solani and R. cerealis was not promoted by L-DOPA, and secretion by C. globosum in response to the phenolic amino acid was significantly less compared to G. graminis var. tritici.