Cloning, sequencing and characterization of a chitin synthase gene fragment from the fungus Phascolomyces articulosus /
Zouganelis, George D.
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Phascolomyces articulosus genomic DNA was isolated from 48 h old hyphae and was used for amplification of a chitin synthase fragment by the polymerase chain reaction method. The primers used in the amplification corresponded to two widely conserved amino acid regions found in chitin synthases of many fimgi. Amphfication resulted in four bands (820, 900, 1000 and 1500 bp, approximately) as visualized in a 1.2% agarose gel. The lowest band (820 bp) was selected as a candidate for chitin synthase because most amplified regions from other fimgi so far exhibited similar sizes (600-750 bp). The selected fragment was extracted from the gel and cloned in the Hinc n site of pUC19. The derived plasmid and insert were designated ^\5C\9'PaCHS and PaCHS respectively. The plasmid pUC19-PaC/fS was digested by several restriction enzymes and was found to contain BamHl and HincU sites. Sequencing of PaCHS revealed two intron sequences and a total open reading frame of 200 amino acids. The derived polypeptide was compared with other related sequences from the EMBL database (Heidelberg, Germany) and was matched to 36 other fiilly or partially sequenced fimgal chitin synthase genes. The closest resemblance was with two genes (74.5% and 73.1% identity) from Rhizopus oligosporus. Southern hybridization with the cloned fragment as a probe to the PCR reaction showed a strong signal at the fragment selected for cloning and weaker signals at the other two fragments. Southern hybridization with partially digested Phascolomyces articulosus genomic DNA showed a single band. The amino acid sequence was compared with sequences from other chitin synthase gene classes using the CLUSTALW program. The chitin synthase fragment from Phascolomyces articulosus was initially grouped in class n along with chitin synthase fragments from Rhizopus oligosporus and Phycomyces blakesleeanus which also belong to the same class, Zygomycetes. Bootstrap analysis using the neighbor-joining method available by CLUSTALW verified such classification. Comparison of PaCHS revealed conservation of intron positions that are characteristic of chitin synthase gene fragments of zygomycetous fungi.