Chitin synthetase localization
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary This study was undertaken to assess the distribution and localization of chitin synthetase in a fungal cell and to evaluate the sedimentation behavior of chitosomes (microvesicular containers of chitin synthetase). Chitosomes were isolated from cell-free extracts of yeast cells ofMucor rouxii by rate-zonal and isopycnic sedimentation in sucrose density gradients. Because of their small size and low density, chitosomes were effectively separated from other subcellular particles. Rate-zonal sedimentation was a suitable final step for isolating chitosomes as long as ribosomes had been eliminated by enzymic digestion. By isopycnic centrifugation, chitosomes could be separated directly from a crude cell-free extract; they cosedimented with a sharp symmetrical peak of chitin synthetase at a buoyant density of d=1.14–1.15g/cm3; the only significant contaminants were particles of fatty acid synthetase complex. From such sedimentations, we estimated that 80–85% of the chitin synthetase activity in the cell-free extract was associated with chitosomes; the rest was found in two smaller peaks sedimenting at d=1.19–1.20 and d=1.21–1.22 (5–10%), and in the cell wall fraction (5–10%). By consecutive rate-zonal and isopycnic sedimentations, chitosome preparations with relatively few contaminating particles were obtained. Potassium/sodium phosphate buffer (pH 6.5)+MgCl2 was the most effective isolation medium for chitosomes. Other buffers such as TRIS-MES+MgCl2 led to massive aggregation of chitosomes and a change in sedimentation properties. This tendency of chitosomes to aggregate could explain why most of the chitin synthetase activity of a fungus is sometimes found associated with other subcellular structures,e.g., plasma membrane.
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