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Expression and specificity of a chitin deacetylase from the nematophagous fungus Pochonia chlamydosporia potentially involved in pathogenicity.
A. Aranda-Martinez, L. Grifoll-Romero, H.Aragunde, E. Sancho-Vaello, X. Biarnés, L. Vicente Lopez-Llorca, A. Planas.
Scientific Reports 8, 2170 (2018).


Chitin deacetylases (CDAs) act on chitin polymers and low molecular weight oligomers producing chitosans and chitosan oligosaccharides. Structurally-defined, partially deacetylated chitooligosaccharides produced by enzymatic methods are of current interest as bioactive molecules for a variety of applications. Among Pochonia chlamydosporia (Pc) annotated CDAs, gene pc_2566 was predicted to encode for an extracellular CE4 deacetylase with two CBM18 chitin binding modules. Chitosan formation during nematode egg infection by this nematophagous fungus suggests a role for their CDAs in pathogenicity. The P. chlamydosporia CDA catalytic domain (PcCDA) was expressed in E. coli BL21, recovered from inclusion bodies, and purified by affinity chromatography. It displays deacetylase activity on chitooligosaccharides with a degree of polymerization (DP) larger than 3, generating mono- and di-deacetylated products with a pattern different from those of closely related fungal CDAs. This is the first report of a CDA from a nematophagous fungus. On a DP5 substrate, PcCDA gave a single mono-deacetylated product in the penultimate position from the non-reducing end (ADAAA) which was then transformed into a di-deacetylated product (ADDAA). This novel deacetylation pattern expands our toolbox of specific CDAs for biotechnological applications, and will provide further insights into the determinants of substrate specificity in this family of enzymes.