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Mol Biol Cell. Dec 1996; 7(12): 1909–1919.
PMCID: PMC276039

Chs1p and Chs3p, two proteins involved in chitin synthesis, populate a compartment of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae endocytic pathway.


In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the synthesis of chitin, a cell-wall polysaccharide, is temporally and spatially regulated with respect to the cell cycle and morphogenesis. Using immunological reagents, we found that steady-state levels of Chs1p and Chs3p, two chitin synthase enzymes, did not fluctuate during the cell cycle, indicating that they are not simply regulated by synthesis and degradation. Previous cell fractionation studies demonstrated that chitin synthase I activity (CSI) exists in a plasma membrane form and in intracellular membrane-bound particles called chitosomes. Chitosomes were proposed to act as a reservoir for regulated transport of chitin synthase enzymes to the division septum. We found that Chs1p and Chs3p resided partly in chitosomes and that this distribution was not cell cycle regulated. Pulse-chase cell fractionation experiments showed that chitosome production was blocked in an endocytosis mutant (end4-1), indicating that endocytosis is required for the formation or maintenance of chitosomes. Additionally, Ste2p, internalized by ligand-induced endocytosis, cofractionated with chitosomes, suggesting that these membrane proteins populate the same endosomal compartment. However, in contrast to Ste2p, Chs1p and Chs3p were not rapidly degraded, thus raising the possibility that the temporal and spatial regulation of chitin synthesis is mediated by the mobilization of an endosomal pool of chitin synthase enzymes.

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