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Proper ascospore maturation requires the chs1+ chitin synthase gene in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

Arellano M., Cartagena-Lirola H., Nasser Hajibagheri M.A., Duran A., Henar Valdivieso M.

We have cloned chs1+, a Schizosaccharomyces pombe gene with similarity to class II chitin synthases, and have shown that it is responsible for chitin synthase activity present in cell extracts from this organism. Analysis of this activity reveals that it behaves like chitin synthases from other fungi, although with specific biochemical characteristics. Deletion or overexpression of this gene does not lead to any apparent defect during vegetative growth. In contrast, chs1+ expression increases significantly during sporulation, and this is accompanied by an increase in chitin synthase activity. In addition, spore formation is severely affected when both parental strains carry a chs1 deletion, as a result of a defect in the synthesis of the ascospore cell wall. Finally, we show that wild-type, but not chs1-/chs1-, ascospore cell walls bind wheatgerm agglutinin. Our results clearly suggest the existence of a relationship between chs1+, chitin synthesis and ascospore maturation in S. pombe.

Mol. Microbiol. 35:79-89(2000) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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