The antigenic composition of Candida albicans is very complex. In order to study the antigenic relationship between blastoconidia and germ tubes of C. albicans, we produced several monoclonal antibodies and analyzed their reactivity against cell wall antigens either in intact cells or in cells treated with dithiothreitol. Overall, four types of reactivity were found. Monoclonal antibodies 3D9 and 15C9 stained the germ tubes only when tested by indirect immunofluorescence. However, they showed a different reactivity by immunoblotting. Monoclonal antibody 3D9 reacted with antigens with molecular masses of > 200 and 180 kDa specifically expressed in the germ tube. Monoclonal antibody 15C9 reacted with antigens of 87, 50, and 34 kDa present in the germ tube extract and with antigens of 92, 50, 34, and 32 kDa present in the blastoconidium extract. The reactivity of blastoconidia treated for different times with dithiothreitol with these monoclonal antibodies was also studied by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The reactivity of monoclonal antibody 3D9 did not significantly change during the cell wall extraction. However, the reactivity of monoclonal antibody 15C9 was increased for blastoconidia extracted for 60 min and decreased markedly for blastocondia extracted for 120 min. Monoclonal antibody G3B was nonreactive by indirect immunofluoresence but reacted with antigens of 47 and 38 kDa present in the germ tube extract and with an antigen of 47 kDa present in the blastoconidium extract. Monoclonal antibody B9E stained both morphological phases by indirect immunofluorescence. By immunoblotting, it reacted with antigens of > 70 kDa present in the germ tube extract and with antigens of > 63, 56, 47, and 38 kDa present in the blastoconidium extract. Based on the results presented in this study, four types of antigens are described. Type I antigens are expressed on the outermost layers of the germ tube cell wall only. Type II antigens are expressed both on the germ tube cell wall surface and within the blastoconidium cell wall. Type III antigens are found within the cell wall of both blastoconidia and germ tubes. Type IV antigens are expressed on both the blastoconidium and germ tube surface. Two types more can be hypothesized for antigens expressed on the blastoconidium cell surface and within the germ tube cell wall (type V) and for those expressed on the blastoconidium surface only (type VI)
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