The cellular distribution of laccase L1 during degradation of wood chips by Rigidoporus lignosus, a tropical white rot fungus, was investigated by using anti-laccase L1 polyclonal antisera in conjunction with immunolabeling techniques. The enzyme was localized in the fungal cytoplasm and was associated with the plasmalemma and the fungal cell wall. An extracellular sheath, often observed around fungal cells, often contained laccase molecules. Diffusion of laccase within apparently unaltered wood was seldom observed. The enzyme penetrated all degraded cell walls, from the secondary wall toward the primary wall, including the middle lamella. Xylem cells showing advanced stages of decay were sometimes devoid of significant labeling. These data suggest that the initial attack on wood was not performed by laccase L1 of R. lignosus. Previous alteration of the lignocellulose complex may facilitate the movement of laccase within the wood cell walls. This immunogold study revealed that laccase localization during wood degradation seems limited not in space but in time
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