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Appl Environ Microbiol DOI:10.1128/AEM.01412-07

Conservation of the chitin utilization pathway in the Vibrionaceae.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHunt, DE, Gevers, D, Vahora, NM, Polz, MF
JournalAppl Environ Microbiol
Date Published2008 Jan
KeywordsAcetylglucosamine, Bacterial Proteins, Chitin, Chitinases, Conserved Sequence, DNA, Bacterial, Metabolic Networks and Pathways, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Vibrionaceae

Vibrionaceae are regarded as important marine chitin degraders, and attachment to chitin regulates important biological functions; yet, the degree of chitin pathway conservation in Vibrionaceae is unknown. Here, a core chitin degradation pathway is proposed based on comparison of 19 Vibrio and Photobacterium genomes with a detailed metabolic map assembled for V. cholerae from published biochemical, genomic, and transcriptomic results. Further, to assess whether chitin degradation is a conserved property of Vibrionaceae, a set of 54 strains from 32 taxa were tested for the ability to grow on various forms of chitin. All strains grew on N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), the monomer of chitin. The majority of isolates grew on alpha (crab shell) and beta (squid pen) chitin and contained chitinase A (chiA) genes. chiA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis suggest that this gene is a good indicator of chitin metabolism but appears subject to horizontal gene transfer and duplication. Overall, chitin metabolism appears to be a core function of Vibrionaceae, but individual pathway components exhibit dynamic evolutionary histories.


Alternate JournalAppl. Environ. Microbiol.
PubMed ID17933912
PubMed Central IDPMC2223224