Chitin, -(1, 4) linked N-acetylglucosamin (GlcNAc) units, is an insoluble polysaccharide and is abundant in the marine environment. Chitin is mainly derived from crustaceans such as shrimps and crab shells and has received attention as a useful biomass. Chitinases (EC, which hydrolyze the -1, 4-N-acetyl-glucosaminidic linkages in a soluble chitin polymer, have been characterized in various kinds of organisms such as yeast, fungi, bacteria and plants.
  We have isolated and characterized Enterobacter sp. G-1 as a microorganism that secretes chitinases as described by Park et al (1) (2). Park describes the cloning, characterization, and transcriptional analysis of the chitinaseA (chiA) gene encoding one of chitinases from Enterobacter sp. G-1.
  Chitosan is a polysaccharide consisting of -1, 4-linked D-glucosamine residues, which partially replaced with N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. Chitooligosaccharides produced by enzymatic hydrolysis of chitosan are used as food additives, pharmaceuticals, and elicitors in plant cell culture. The hydrolysis of glycosidic bonds of chitosan is catalyzed by chitosanase (EC Chitosanases are produced by many organisms, including actinomycete, fungi, plants and bacteria. In plants, chitosanases have been considered as pathogenesis-related proteins, which is involved in defense mechanisms against pathogenic fungi. Bacterial chitosanases are important for the maintenance of the ecological balance and have been used to determine the mechanism of chitosan hydrolysis at both biochemical and molecular levels.
  Matsuebater chitosanotabidus 3001 that belongs to -subclass of Proteobacterium was isolated from a soil of Matsue city as a chitosanase producer. Biochemical properties of the purified chitosanaseA from M. chitosanotabidus 3001 have been characterized, and the chitosanaseA (choA) gene has been cloned (3).
  We are analyzing glycosylhydrolase (especially, N-acetylglucosaminidase, chitinase and chitosanase) using techniqnes of genetic engineering and molecular biology.

(1) Park, J. K. et al, 1997, Purification and characterization of the chitinase (ChiA) from Enterobacter sp. G-1, Biosic. Biotech. Biochem., 61. 684.
(2) Park, J. K. et al, 1997, Molecular cloning, nucleotide sequencing, and regulation of the chiA gene encoding one of chitinases from Enterobacter sp. G-1., J. ferment. Bioengin., 84. 493.
(3) Park, J. K. et al, 1999. Purification, characterization, and gene analysis of a chitosanase (ChoA) from Matsuebacter chitosanotabidus 3001. J. Bacteriol. 181. 6642.