ABSTRACT: Comparison of the chitin synthase genes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae CHS1 and CHS2 with the Candida albicans CHS1 gene (UDP-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine:chitin 4-beta-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase, EC 184.108.40.206) revealed two small regions of complete amino acid sequence conservation that were used to design PCR primers. Fragments homologous to chitin synthase (approximately 600 base pairs) were amplified from the genomic DNA of 14 fungal species. These fragments were sequenced, and their deduced amino acid sequences were aligned. With the exception of S. cerevisiae CHS1, the sequences fell into three distinct classes, which could represent separate functional groups. Within each class phylogenetic analysis was performed. Although not the major purpose of the investigation, this analysis tends to confirm some relationships consistent with current taxonomic groupings.
Project description:In S. cerevisiae the beta-1,4-linked N-acetylglucosamine polymer, chitin, is synthesized by a family of 3 specialized but interacting chitin synthases encoded by CHS1, CHS2 and CHS3. Chs2p makes chitin in the primary septum, while Chs3p makes chitin in the lateral cell wall and in the bud neck, and can partially compensate for the lack of Chs2p. Chs3p requires a pathway of Bni4p, Chs4p, Chs5p, Chs6p and Chs7p for its localization and activity. Chs1p is thought to have a septum repair function after cell separation. To further explore interactions in the chitin synthase family and to find processes buffering chitin synthesis, we compiled a genetic interaction network of genes showing synthetic interactions with CHS1, CHS3 and genes involved in Chs3p localization and function and made a phenotypic analysis of their mutants.Using deletion mutants in CHS1, CHS3, CHS4, CHS5, CHS6, CHS7 and BNI4 in a synthetic genetic array analysis we assembled a network of 316 interactions among 163 genes. The interaction network with CHS3, CHS4, CHS5, CHS6, CHS7 or BNI4 forms a dense neighborhood, with many genes functioning in cell wall assembly or polarized secretion. Chitin levels were altered in 54 of the mutants in individually deleted genes, indicating a functional relationship between them and chitin synthesis. 32 of these mutants triggered the chitin stress response, with elevated chitin levels and a dependence on CHS3. A large fraction of the CHS1-interaction set was distinct from that of the CHS3 network, indicating broad roles for Chs1p in buffering both Chs2p function and more global cell wall robustness.Based on their interaction patterns and chitin levels we group interacting mutants into functional categories. Genes interacting with CHS3 are involved in the amelioration of cell wall defects and in septum or bud neck chitin synthesis, and we newly assign a number of genes to these functions. Our genetic analysis of genes not interacting with CHS3 indicate expanded roles for Chs4p, Chs5p and Chs6p in secretory protein trafficking and of Bni4p in bud neck organization.
Project description:Candida albicans has four chitin synthases from three different enzyme classes which deposit chitin in the cell wall, including at the polarized tips of growing buds and hyphae, and sites of septation. The two class I enzymes, Chs2 and Chs8, are responsible for most of the measurable chitin synthase activity in vitro, but their precise biological functions in vivo remain obscure. In this work, detailed phenotypic analyses of a chs2?chs8? mutant have shown that C. albicans class I chitin synthases promote cell integrity during early polarized growth in yeast and hyphal cells. This was supported by live cell imaging of YFP-tagged versions of the class I chitin synthases which revealed that Chs2-YFP was localized at sites of polarized growth. Furthermore, a unique and dynamic pattern of localization of the class I enzymes at septa of yeast and hyphae was revealed. Phosphorylation of Chs2 on the serine at position 222 was shown to regulate the amount of Chs2 that is localized to sites of polarized growth and septation. Independently from this post-translational modification, specific cell wall stresses were also shown to regulate the amount of Chs2 that localizes to specific sites in cells, and this was linked to the ability of the class I enzymes to reinforce cell wall integrity during early polarized growth in the presence of these stresses.
Project description:In fungi, as with all walled organisms, cytokinesis followed by septation marks the end of the cell cycle and is essential for cell division and viability. For yeasts, the septal cross-wall comprises a ring and primary septal plate composed of chitin, and a secondary septum thickened with ?(1,3)-glucan. In the human pathogen Candida albicans, chitin synthase enzyme Chs1 builds the primary septum that is surrounded by a chitin ring made by Chs3. Here we show that the lethal phenotype induced by repression of CHS1 was abrogated by stress-induced synthesis of alternative and novel septal types synthesized by other chitin synthase enzymes that have never before been implicated in septation. Chs2 and Chs8 formed a functional salvage septum, even in the absence of both Chs1 and Chs3. A second type of salvage septum formed by Chs2 in combination with Chs3 or Chs8 was proximally offset in the mother-bud neck. Chs3 alone or in combination with Chs8 formed a greatly thickened third type of salvage septum. Therefore, cell wall stress induced alternative forms of septation that rescued cell division in the absence of Chs1, demonstrating that fungi have previously unsuspected redundant strategies to enable septation and cell division to be maintained, even under potentially lethal environmental conditions.
Project description:The shape and integrity of fungal cells is dependent on the skeletal polysaccharides in their cell walls of which beta(1,3)-glucan and chitin are of principle importance. The human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans has four genes, CHS1, CHS2, CHS3 and CHS8, which encode chitin synthase isoenzymes with different biochemical properties and physiological functions. Analysis of the morphology of chitin in cell wall ghosts revealed two distinct forms of chitin microfibrils: short microcrystalline rodlets that comprised the bulk of the cell wall; and a network of longer interlaced microfibrils in the bud scars and primary septa. Analysis of chitin ghosts of chs mutant strains by shadow-cast transmission electron microscopy showed that the long-chitin microfibrils were absent in chs8 mutants and the short-chitin rodlets were absent in chs3 mutants. The inferred site of chitin microfibril synthesis of these Chs enzymes was corroborated by their localization determined in Chsp-YFP-expressing strains. These results suggest that Chs8p synthesizes the long-chitin microfibrils, and Chs3p synthesizes the short-chitin rodlets at the same cellular location. Therefore the architecture of the chitin skeleton of C. albicans is shaped by the action of more than one chitin synthase at the site of cell wall synthesis.
Project description:In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, chitin forms the primary division septum and the bud scar in the walls of vegetative cells. Three chitin synthetic activities have been detected. Two of them, chitin synthase I and chitin synthase II, are not required for synthesis of most of the chitin present in vivo. Using a novel screen, I have identified three mutations, designated csd2, csd3, and csd4, that reduce levels of chitin in vivo by as much as 10-fold without causing any obvious perturbation of cell division. The csd2 and csd4 mutants lack chitin synthase III activity in vitro, while csd3 mutants have wild-type levels of this enzyme. In certain genetic backgrounds, these mutations cause temperature-sensitive growth on rich medium; inclusion of salts or sorbitol bypasses this phenotype. Gene disruption experiments show that CSD2 is nonessential; a small amount of chitin, about 5% of the wild-type level, is detected in the disruptants. DNA sequencing indicates that the CSD2 protein has limited, but statistically significant, similarity to chitin synthase I and chitin synthase II. Other significant similarities are to two developmental proteins: the nodC protein from Rhizobium species and the DG42 protein of Xenopus laevis. The relationship between the nodC and CSD2 proteins suggests that nodC may encode an N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase that synthesizes the oligosaccharide backbone of the nodulation factor NodRm-1.
Project description:How cell cycle machinery regulates extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling during cytokinesis remains poorly understood. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the primary septum (PS), a functional equivalent of animal ECM, is synthesized during cytokinesis by the chitin synthase Chs2. Here, we report that Dbf2, a conserved mitotic exit kinase, localizes to the division site after Chs2 and directly phosphorylates Chs2 on several residues, including Ser-217. Both phosphodeficient (chs2-S217A) and phosphomimic (chs2-S217D) mutations cause defects in cytokinesis, suggesting that dynamic phosphorylation-dephosphorylation of Ser-217 is critical for Chs2 function. It is striking that Chs2-S217A constricts asymmetrically with the actomyosin ring (AMR), whereas Chs2-S217D displays little or no constriction and remains highly mobile at the division site. These data suggest that Chs2 phosphorylation by Dbf2 triggers its dissociation from the AMR during the late stage of cytokinesis. Of interest, both chs2-S217A and chs2-S217D mutants are robustly suppressed by increased dosage of Cyk3, a cytokinesis protein that displays Dbf2-dependent localization and also stimulates Chs2-mediated chitin synthesis. Thus Dbf2 regulates PS formation through at least two independent pathways: direct phosphorylation and Cyk3-mediated activation of Chs2. Our study establishes a mechanism for direct cell cycle control of ECM remodeling during cytokinesis.
Project description:Chitin is a vital part of the insect exoskeleton and peritrophic membrane, synthesized by chitin synthase (CHS) enzymes. Chitin synthase 1 (CHS1) is a crucial enzyme in the final step of chitin biosynthetic pathway and consequently plays essential role towards insect growth and molting. RNA interference (RNAi) is an agent that could be used as an extremely target-specific and ecologically innocuous tactic to control different insect pests associated with economically important crops. The sole purpose of the current study is to use CHS1 as the key target gene against the cotton-melon aphid, Aphis gossypii, via oral feeding on artificial diets mixed with dsRNA-CHS1. Results revealed that the expression level of CHS1 gene significantly decreased after the oral delivery of dsRNA-CHS1. The knockdown of CHS1 gene caused up to 43%, 47%, and 59% mortality in third-instar nymph after feeding of dsCHS1 for 24, 48, and 72 h, respectively, as compared to the control. Consistent with this, significantly lower longevity (approximately 38%) and fecundity (approximately 48%) were also found in adult stage of cotton-melon aphids that were fed with dsCHS1 for 72 h at nymphal stage. The qRT-PCR analysis of gene expression demonstrated that the increased mortality rates and lowered longevity and fecundity of A. gossypii were attributed to the downregulation of CHS1 gene via oral-delivery-mediated RNAi. The results of current study confirm that CHS1 could be an appropriate candidate target gene for the RNAi-based control of cotton-melon aphids.
Project description:Chitin synthase and chitinase play crucial roles in chitin biosynthesis and degradation during insect molting. Silencing of Dicer-1 results in reduced levels of mature miRNAs and severely blocks molting in the migratory locust. However, the regulatory mechanism of miRNAs in the molting process of locusts has remained elusive. In this study, we found that in chitin metabolism, two crucial enzymes, chitin synthase (CHS) and chitinase (CHT) were regulated by miR-71 and miR-263 during nymph molting. The coding sequence of CHS1 and the 3'-untranslated region of CHT10 contain functional binding sites for miR-71 and miR-263, respectively. miR-71/miR-263 displayed cellular co-localization with their target genes in epidermal cells and directly interacted with CHS1 and CHT10 in the locust integument, respectively. Injections of miR-71 and miR-263 agomirs suppressed the expression of CHS1 and CHT10, which consequently altered chitin production of new and old cuticles and resulted in a molting-defective phenotype in locusts. Unexpectedly, reduced expression of miR-71 and miR-263 increased CHS1 and CHT10 mRNA expression and led to molting defects similar to those induced by miRNA delivery. This study reveals a novel function and balancing modulation pattern of two miRNAs in chitin biosynthesis and degradation, and it provides insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms of the molting process in locusts.
Project description:Chitin is a major component of fungal cell wall and is synthesized by chitin synthases (Chs). Plant pathogenic fungi normally have multiple chitin synthase genes. To determine their roles in development and pathogenesis, we functionally characterized all seven CHS genes in Magnaporthe oryzae. Three of them, CHS1, CHS6, and CHS7, were found to be important for plant infection. While the chs6 mutant was non-pathogenic, the chs1 and chs7 mutants were significantly reduced in virulence. CHS1 plays a specific role in conidiogenesis, an essential step for natural infection cycle. Most of chs1 conidia had no septum and spore tip mucilage. The chs6 mutant was reduced in hyphal growth and conidiation. It failed to penetrate and grow invasively in plant cells. The two MMD-containing chitin synthase genes, CHS5 and CHS6, have a similar expression pattern. Although deletion of CHS5 had no detectable phenotype, the chs5 chs6 double mutant had more severe defects than the chs6 mutant, indicating that they may have overlapping functions in maintaining polarized growth in vegetative and invasive hyphae. Unlike the other CHS genes, CHS7 has a unique function in appressorium formation. Although it was blocked in appressorium formation by germ tubes on artificial hydrophobic surfaces, the chs7 mutant still produced melanized appressoria by hyphal tips or on plant surfaces, indicating that chitin synthase genes have distinct impacts on appressorium formation by hyphal tip and germ tube. The chs7 mutant also was defective in appressorium penetration and invasive growth. Overall, our results indicate that individual CHS genes play diverse roles in hyphal growth, conidiogenesis, appressorium development, and pathogenesis in M. oryzae, and provided potential new leads in the control of this devastating pathogen by targeting specific chitin synthases.
Project description:Chitin biosynthesis in yeast is accomplished by three chitin synthases (Chs) termed Chs1, Chs2 and Chs3, of which the latter accounts for most of the chitin deposited within the cell wall. While the overall structures of Chs1 and Chs2 are similar to those of other chitin synthases from fungi and arthropods, Chs3 lacks some of the C-terminal transmembrane helices raising questions regarding its structure and topology. To fill this gap of knowledge, we performed bioinformatic analyses and protease protection assays that revealed significant information about the catalytic domain, the chitin-translocating channel and the interfacial helices in between. In particular, we identified an amphipathic, crescent-shaped ?-helix attached to the inner side of the membrane that presumably controls the channel entrance and a finger helix pushing the polymer into the channel. Evidence has accumulated in the past years that chitin synthases form oligomeric complexes, which may be necessary for the formation of chitin nanofibrils. However, the functional significance for living yeast cells has remained elusive. To test Chs3 oligomerization in vivo, we used bimolecular fluorescence complementation. We detected oligomeric complexes at the bud neck, the lateral plasma membrane, and in membranes of Golgi vesicles, and analyzed their transport route using various trafficking mutants.