A comparative study of in vitro chitin synthase activity in mucoraceous hosts of a mycoparasite
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A comparative study of in vitro chitin synthase activity in mucoraceous hosts of a mycoparasite: Chitin synthase, the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of chitin in fungal cell wall was extracted from young hyphae of Choanephora cucurbitarum and Phascolomyces articulosus, susceptible and resistant hosts, respectively, to the mycoparasite, Piptocephalis virginiana. Crude enzyme was identified and characterized by measuring the incorporation of the substrate [14C]-UDP-N-acetylglucosamine, into chitin. Most activity occurred in mixed membrane fraction. Inhibition of activity with Polyoxin D and activation with proteases, N-acetyl-glucosamine and magnesium and other ions was observed. Properties of the crude enzyme preparation such as cofactor requirement, Vmax , apparent Km value for UDP-GlcNAc, inhibition by Polyoxin D, response to pH and to temperature, and stability at 4°C were determined. Enzyme activity from both fungi displayed basically the same features as the corresponding enzymes reported from other mucoraceous fungi. However, the two preparations from P. articulosus and C. cucurbitarum differed from each other in their expressed activity (i.e., the preparations from ~ articulosus exhibited higher latency and higher specific chitin synthase activity than the corresponding preparations from ~ cucurbitarum). Trypsin was effective in activation only over a narrow concentration range. Acid protease was the most effec.tive activator. En.dogenous protease estimation indicated higher protease activity in C. cucurbitarum than in P. articulosus. The suggestion is made that regulation of chitin synthase activities may be related to host resistance in the mycoparasitic system.