We previously isolated a Brassica juncea cDNA encoding BjCHI1, a novel chitinase with two chitin-binding domains. Synthesis of its mRNA is induced by wounding, methyl jasmonate treatment, Aspergillus niger infection and caterpillar Pieris rapae feeding, suggesting that the protein has a role in defense. In that it possesses two chitin-binding domains, BjCHI1 resembles the precursor of Urtica dioica agglutinin but unlike that protein, BjCHI1 retains its chitinase catalytic domain after post-translational processing. To explore the properties of multi-domain BjCHI1, we have expressed recombinant BjCHI1 and two derivatives, which lack one (BjCHI2) or both (BjCHI3) chitin-binding domains, as secreted proteins in Pichia pastoris. Recombinant BjCHI1 and BjCHI2, showed apparent molecular masses on SDS-PAGE larger than calculated, and could be deglycosylated using α-mannosidase. Recombinant BjCHI3, without the proline/threonine-rich linker region containing predicted O-glycosylation sites, did not appear to be processed by α-mannosidase. BjCHI1’s ability to agglutinate rabbit erythrocytes is unique among known chitinases. Both chitin-binding domains are essential for agglutination; this property is absent in recombinant BjCHI2 and BjCHI3. To identify potential catalytic residues, we generated site-directed mutations in recombinant BjCHI3. Mutation E212A showed the largest effect, exhibiting 0 of wild-type specific activity. H211N and R361A resulted in considerable (>91) activity loss, implying these charged residues are also important in catalysis. E234A showed 36 retention of activity and substitution Y269D, 50. The least affected mutants were E349A and D360A, with 73 and 68 retention, respectively. Like Y269, E349 and D360 are possibly involved in substrate binding rather than catalysis.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 30, 2004
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