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J Bacteriol. 1975 Dec;124(3):1574-85.

Production, purification, and characterization of an extracellular chitosanase from Streptomyces.


The synthesis by Streptomyces sp. no. 6 of an extracellular chitosanase was induced by glucosamine. The enzyme was purified to homogeneity by Sephadex G-100, carboxymethyl-cellulose, and diethylaminoethyl-cellulose chromatography. The purified enzyme hydrolyzed chitosan (the beta-1,4-linked polymer of glucosamine) but not chitin nor carboxymethyl-cellulose. The only products of the hydrolysis detectable by paper chromatography were di- and triglucosamine. Sephadex G-100 chromatography and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated that the molecular weight of the enzyme was between 29,000 and 26,000. Acid hydrolysates of the enzyme contained no cysteic acid or glucosamine or other carbohydrate. At 25 C, maximum activity was obtained between pH 4.5 and 6.5. The enzymatic hydrolysis of chitosan occurred over a wide range of temperatures and was maximal at 60 C. The rate of the reaction was inhibited by concentrations of soluble chitosan higher than 0.5 g/liter. The apparent Km calculated from a Lineweaver-Burke plot was 0.688 g/liter at pH 5.5. The enzyme prevented spore germination and caused a significant decrease in the turbidity of germinated spore suspensions of the Mucor strains tested. Such a decrease was the result of a partial lysis of the cell wall.

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