SUMMARY: Enriched preparations of chitin synthase were obtained from cell homogenates from Chitin synthase was solubilized from a mixed membrane fraction by two successive digitonin treatments. Glycerol gradient centrifugation of the solubilized proteins separated the chitin synthase activity from the majority of proteins and from β-1,3 and β-1,4 glucan synthases. The properties of chitin synthase from this Oomycete fungus are similar to those reported for the enzymes of chitinous fungi. The solubilized enzyme catalysed the synthesis of spindle-like crystals of chitin. Biophysical analysis (by electron and X-ray diffractometry and infrared spectroscopy) demonstrated that the polymer synthesized was α-chitin. These results and those previously reported demonstrate unambiguously that chitin synthase and chitin are normal components of the cell wall of the cellulosic fungus


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