The chitobiase of Serratia marcescens is a beta-N-1,4-acetylhexosaminidase with a glycosyl hydrolase family 20 (GH20) domain that hydrolyzes the beta-1,4-glycosidic linkages in oligomers derived from chitin. Chitin is degraded by a two step process: i) a chitinase hydrolyzes the chitin to oligosaccharides and disaccharides such as di-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine and chitobiose, ii) chitobiase then further degrades these oligomers into monomers. This GH20 domain family includes an N-acetylglucosamidase (GlcNAcase A) from Pseudoalteromonas piscicida and an N-acetylhexosaminidase (SpHex) from Streptomyces plicatus. SpHex lacks the C-terminal PKD (polycystic kidney disease I)-like domain found in the chitobiases. The GH20 hexosaminidases are thought to act via a catalytic mechanism in which the catalytic nucleophile is not provided by solvent or the enzyme, but by the substrate itself.