First and second authors: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln 68583; and third and fourth authors: Department of Biochemistry, University of Nebraska, Lincoln 68583
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strain C3, a biocontrol agent of Bipolaris sorokiniana in turfgrass, produced chitinases in broth media containing chitin. Chitinases were partially purified from culture fluid by ammonium sulfate precipitation and chitin affinity chromatography. The chromatography fraction with the highest specific chitinase activity was inhibitory to conidial germination and germ-tube elongation of B. sorokiniana, but it was less inhibitory than the protein fraction or the raw culture filtrate. The fraction exhibited strong exochitinase and weak endo-chitinase activity. Optimum temperature and pH for chitinase activity were 45 to 50°C and 4.5 to 5.0, respectively. Chitinase activity was inhibited by Hg2+ and Fe3+, but not by other metal ions or enzyme inhibitors. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of the chromatography fraction revealed the presence of five protein bands of 25, 32, 48, 65, and 75 kDa. Partial amino acid sequences of the 32-, 65-, and 75-kDa proteins indicated that they are homologous to known bacterial chitinases. There was no homology found in the partial amino acid sequences of the 25- and 48-kDa proteins to any known chitinases. Five chitinase-active proteins were detected in the protein and chromatography fractions by activity gels, but when each protein was extracted and re-electrophoresed separately under denaturing conditions, only 32- or 48-kDa proteins were revealed. It was concluded that strain C3 produces at least two chitinases that are antifungal.