Chitin, a homopolymer of β1,4-linked N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) residues, is a key component of the cell walls of fungi and the exoskeletons of arthropods. Chitin synthases transfer GlcNAc from UDP-GlcNAc to preexisting chitin chains in reactions that are typically stimulated by free GlcNAc. The effect of GlcNAc was probed by using a yeast strain expressing a single chitin synthase, Chs2, by examining formation of chitin oligosaccharides (COs) and insoluble chitin, and by replacing GlcNAc with 2-acylamido analogues of GlcNAc. Synthesis of COs was strongly dependent on inclusion of GlcNAc in chitin synthase incubations, and N,N′-diacetylchitobiose (GlcNAc2) was the major reaction product. Formation of both COs and insoluble chitin was also stimulated by GlcNAc2 and by N-propanoyl-, N-butanoyl-, and N-glycolylglucosamine. MALDI analyses of the COs made in the presence of 2-acylamido analogues of GlcNAc showed they that contained a single GlcNAc analogue and one or more additional GlcNAc residues. These results indicate that Chs2 can use certain 2-acylamido analogues of GlcNAc, and likely free GlcNAc and GlcNAc2 as well, as GlcNAc acceptors in a UDP-GlcNAc-dependent glycosyltransfer reaction. Further, formation of modified disaccharides indicates that CSs can transfer single GlcNAc residues.
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Gyore, Jacob; Parameswar, Archana; Hebbard, Carleigh; Oh, Younghoon; Bi, Erfei; Demchenko, Alexei; Price, Neil; and Orlean, Peter, "2-Acylamido Analogues of N-Acetylglucosamine Prime Formation of Chitin Oligosaccharides by Yeast Chitin Synthase 2" (2014). Chemistry & Biochemistry Faculty Works. 19.