A complex chitinolytic system in exponentially growing mycelium of Mucor rouxii: properties and function

Journal of General Microbiology
D M RastG W Gooday


Enzymological evidence has been sought for the purported involvement of chitinolysis in vegetative growth of filamentous fungi. A procedure has been developed for the production of fast growing and morphologically homogeneous exponential phase mycelium of the non-septate dimorphic zygomycete Mucor rouxii. A partially purified extract of this material has been subjected to gel-permeation chromatography and the chitinolytic activity of eluate fractions has been assessed using colloidal and nascent chitin and 3,4-dinitrophenyl tetra-N-acetylchitotetraoside [3,4-DNP-(GlcNAc)4] as substrates. Exponentially growing (td = 1.1 h) mycelium consisting of single short-branched hyphae contains at least seven chitinases. The two particulate ones have not been studied in detail. The soluble chitinases hydrolyse (pseudo)chito-oligomers by random cleavage of internal beta-1,4-bonds (and not by processing) and have a minimum chain-length requirement of n = 4. They are clearly distinct from beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase (beta-GlcNAc'ase) with respect to their chromatographic behaviour, substrate chain-length specificity, inhibition by chitobionolactone oxime (Ki = 175 microM), and non-inhibition by the specific beta-GlcNAc'ase inhibitor N-acetylg...Continue Reading


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