Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers to two highly conserved sequences within fungal chitin synthase (CHS)-encoding genes, an approximately 750-bp DNA fragment was amplified from genomic DNA of Phycomyces blakesleeanus. The amino acid sequence deduced from the nucleotide sequence of this fragment best matches the motifs found in class-II CHS. The fragment includes an approximately 160-bp region that likely is an intron. Southern hybridization of restriction enzyme-digested genomic DNA, using the PCR-amplified DNA as the probe, suggests that P. blakesleeanus contains additional CHS-encoding genes (CHS). To our knowledge, this is the first report on the detection of a CHS gene in a Zygomycete fungus. These studies represent a major step toward exploring the molecular mechanisms of CHS regulation in Phycomyces. The prospects are exciting, since CHS is implicated to play a central role in the sensory responses of P. blakesleeanus involving growth modulations. © 1993.
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