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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2003 Jul 29;224(2):299-305.

Chitin synthase III activity, but not the chitin ring, is required for remedial septa formation in budding yeast.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Chitin is a minor but essential component of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell wall. In wild-type, chitin synthase II is required for the formation of primary septa and chitin synthase III (CSIII) is not essential. However, in chs2 mutants CSIII becomes essential for the formation of aberrant septa. We examined which of two CSIII functions, the formation of a chitin ring at bud emergence or of chitin in the remedial septa, was required for viability. By using cell cycle synchronization in combination with nikkomycin Z, a specific inhibitor of CSIII, we inhibited chitin synthesis in a chs2 mutant, during formation of either the ring or the remedial septa. The results show that only synthesis of the chitin during aberrant septa formation is essential for viability. Thus, the unique function of the chitin ring seems to be maintenance of the integrity of the mother-bud neck, as we recently found, and the importance of chitin in septum closure, both in normal and abnormal situations, is underlined.

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