The biosynthesis of chitin has been obtained in broken mycelia and protoplasts of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. The specific activity of chitin synthase (EC in a membrane preparation from protoplasts derived from the hyphal tips of A. fumigatus was 26.8-fold greater than that of the chitin synthase in broken mycelia, indicating that the active chitin synthase is located primarily in a membrane-bound site at the hyphal tip. Polyoxin D was a potent competitive inhibitor of the enzyme, having Ki 5.2 +/- 0.8 micron with respect to the natural substrate UDP-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, which has Km 1.58 mM.

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