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Eur J Biochem. 1992 Jun 15;206(3):859-67.

Isolation and characterization of three chitinases from Trichoderma harzianum.

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Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis, CSIC, Sevilla, Spain.


Three proteins which display chitinase activity were purified from the supernatants of Trichoderma harzianum CECT 2413 grown in minimal medium supplemented with chitin as the sole carbon source. Purification was carried out after protein precipitation with ammonium sulphate, adsorption to colloidal chitin and digestion, and, finally, chromatofocusing. By this procedure, two chitinases of 42 kDa (CHIT42) and 37 kDa (CHIT37) were purified to homogeneity, as judged by SDS/PAGE and gel filtration, whereas a third, of 33 kDa (CHIT33), was highly purified. The isoelectric points for CHIT42, CHIT37 and CHIT33 were 6.2, 4.6 and 7.8, respectively. The three enzymes displayed endochitinase activities and showed different kinetic properties. CHIT33 was able to hydrolyze chitin oligomers of a polymerization degree higher than n = 4, its Km for colloidal chitin being 0.3 mg/ml. CHIT42 and CHIT37 were able to hydrolyze chitin oligomers with a minimal polymerization degree of n = 3, their Km values for colloidal chitin being 1.0 mg/ml and 0.5 mg/ml respectively. With regard to their lytic activity with purified cell walls of the phytopathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea, a hydrolytic action was observed only when CHIT42 was present. Antibodies against CHIT42 and CHIT37 specifically recognized the proteins and did not display cross-reaction, suggesting that each protein is encoded by a different gene.

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