A panel of 15 mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) was raised against five strains of alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) which were closely related antigenically but biologically distinct. A wide diversity of MAb specificity was revealed by screening them in three formats of indirect ELISA, using native and glutaraldehyde-fixed AMV particles as well as isolated coat protein preparations. Of these MAbs, seven reacted specifically with only one AMV strain in at least one ELISA format and at least one MAb was capable of identifying each of the strains. One of the MAbs reacted with a cryptotope, whereas the other recognized different subtypes of either metatopes or neotopes, indicating that the AMV particle has a complex antigenic structure. Only two of the MAbs precipitated AMV in agarose gels. Another two, which recognized epitopes on coat protein subunits, also reacted well in immunoblots. One of the precipitating MAbs recognized an epitope which appears to be common to AMV and cucumber mosaic virus.


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