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Mol Cell Biol. 1992 Apr;12(4):1764-76.

CSD2, CSD3, and CSD4, genes required for chitin synthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: the CSD2 gene product is related to chitin synthases and to developmentally regulated proteins in Rhizobium species and Xenopus laevis.

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  • 1Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


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.

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