PloS one

Human Chitotriosidase Is an Endo-Processive Enzyme.

PMID 28129403


Human chitotriosidase (HCHT) is involved in immune response to chitin-containing pathogens in humans. The enzyme is able to degrade chitooligosaccharides as well as crystalline chitin. The catalytic domain of HCHT is connected to the carbohydrate binding module (CBM) through a flexible hinge region. In humans, two active isoforms of HCHT are found-the full length enzyme and its truncated version lacking CBM and the hinge region. The active site architecture of HCHT is reminiscent to that of the reducing-end exo-acting processive chitinase ChiA from bacterium Serratia marcescens (SmChiA). However, the presence of flexible hinge region and occurrence of two active isoforms are reminiscent to that of non-processive endo-chitinase from S. marcescens, SmChiC. Although the studies on soluble chitin derivatives suggest the endo-character of HCHT, the mode of action of the enzyme on crystalline chitin is not known. Here, we made a thorough characterization of HCHT in terms of the mode of action, processivity, binding, and rate constants for the catalysis and dissociation using α-chitin as substrate. HCHT efficiently released the end-label from reducing-end labelled chitin and had also high probability (95%) of endo-mode initiation of processive run. These results qualify HCHT as an endo-processive enzyme. Processivity and the rate constant of dissociation of HCHT were found to be in-between those, characteristic to processive exo-enzymes, like SmChiA and randomly acting non-processive endo-enzymes, like SmChiC. Apart from increasing the affinity for chitin, CBM had no major effect on kinetic properties of HCHT.

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Chitin from shrimp shells, practical grade, powder