The S. cerevisiae structural gene for chitin synthase is not required for chitin synthesis in vivo

Cell. 1986 Jul 18;46(2):213-25. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(86)90738-5.


The chitin synthase of Saccharomyces is a plasma membrane-bound zymogen. Following proteolytic activation, the enzyme synthesizes insoluble chitin that has chain length and other physical properties similar to chitin found in bud scars. We isolated mutants lacking chitin synthase activity (chs1) and used these to clone CHS1. The gene has an open reading frame of 3400 bases and encodes a protein of 130 kd. The fission yeast S. pombe lacks chitin synthase and chitin. When a plasmid encoding a CHS1-lacZ fusion protein is introduced into S. pombe, both enzymatic activities are expressed in the same ratio as in S. cerevisiae, demonstrating that CHS1 encodes the structural gene of chitin synthase. Three CHS1 gene disruption experiments were performed. In all cases, strains with the disrupted gene have a recognizable phenotype, lack measurable chitin synthase activity in vitro but are viable, contain normal levels of chitin in vivo, and mate and sporulate efficiently.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Chitin / biosynthesis*
  • Chitin Synthase / genetics*
  • Chitin Synthase / isolation & purification
  • Chitin Synthase / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA / genetics
  • Genes*
  • Glucosyltransferases / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Plasmids
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / enzymology
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Chitin
  • DNA
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • Chitin Synthase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M14045