To explore the feasibility of employing antibodies to obtain disease resistance against plant root pathogens, we have studied the expression of genes encoding antibodies in roots of transgenic plants. A model monoclonal antibody was used that binds to a fungal cutinase. Heavy and light chain cDNAs were amplified by PCR, fused to a signal sequence for secretion and cloned behind CaMV 35S and TR2' promoters in a single T-DNA. The chimeric genes were cloned both in tandem and in a divergent orientation. The roots of tobacco plants transformed with these constructs produced antibodies that were able to bind antigen in an ELISA. Immunoblotting showed assembly to a full-size antibody. In addition, a F(ab')2-like fragment was observed, which is probably formed by proteolytic processing. Both antibody species were properly targeted to the apoplast, but the full-size antibody was partially retained by the wall of suspension cells. The construct with divergent promoters showed a better performance than the construct with promoters in tandem. It directed the accumulation of functional antibodies to a maximum of 1.1% of total soluble protein, with half of the plants having levels higher than 0.35%. The high efficiency of this construct probably results from coordinated and balanced expression of light and heavy chain genes, as evidenced by RNA blot hybridization.