Use of immunoblotting for the analysis of wood decay basidiomycetes
J W Palfreyman, H Glancy, D Button, A Vigrow, A J Score, B King
Immunoblotting methods, in particular dot and Western blotting have been used to investigate features of a variety of wood decay organisms, in particular Coriolus versicolor, Lentinus lepideus and Serpula lacrymans. Antisera to each of these decay organisms has been produced by immunisation of rabbits with liquid culture grown hyphae. These antisera, after appropriate preabsorption with sawdust have been used to detect decay organisms grown in their natural substrate, i.e. wood. Production of a semi-quantitative assay for Coriolus versicolor allowed the relationship of antigen content to weight loss to be investigated in wood block experiments. Uninfected blocks contained no detectable antigen. In infected blocks antigen could be detected, however antigen content appeared to be higher in extracts from blocks with low levels of weight loss compared to extracts from blocks with high weight loss. Western blotting, designed to identify the antigenic species present in different cultures of Coriolus versicolor, indicated that the antigenic nature of the organism depends upon its substrate and that during the decay process the nature of antigens produced by Coriolus versicolor changed, i.e. antigens of different molecular weights were detected antigens. Application of the Western blotting technique to two strains of Serpula lacrymans indicated that they could easily be distinguished by their antigenic nature and this technique may have implications for fungal classification. These investigations indicate that immunological methods have considerable potential for the detection of decay organisms and for the study of the decay process itself.